NZ to give $3m to aid Manus refugees
New Zealand is to give $3 million to help look after refugees on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island pending their resettlement.
New Zealand has offered to take 150 of the refugees, but Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has so far refused, though he has left the offer ‘‘on the table’’.
He has said he first wants to work through an offer from the United States to take 1250 of the refugees, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has pressed him to take up the New Zealand offer.
She said New Zealand would work with PNG and agencies like the Red Cross to meet the needs of the refugees while they remained on the island. That had been talked through with Australian officials.
‘‘There is no other way for us to further this offer than via Australia,’’ she said in an apparent rejection of calls, including from support party the Greens, to deal directly with PNG.
The stand-off has caused rising tensions between the two countries, as Australia has come under pressure over what has been described as a humanitarian crisis on Manus.
The United Nations refugee agency and the Australian Senate have called on Turnbull to take up the New Zealand offer.
Ardern said once the US offer had been in place there would still be more that needed to be resettled, but that was a matter for Australia.