NZ to give $3m to aid Manus refugees

The Press - - Politics - VER­NON SMALL IN MANILA

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.

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