NZ PM Criticises Australia Over Manus Crisis As Situation Escalates

Marsha Scott
November 14, 2017

As the standoff on the island continues, the New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has condemned Australia's handling of the situation as "unacceptable".

"Right now, over 600 refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island have had all food, water, security and power removed from them".

She's seeking another meeting with Turnbull to discuss New Zealand's offer to take 150 of the refugees and doesn't believe the Aussie PM sees it as a stunt.

"I see the human face of this issue".

"We're shutting them down for as long as we least until the evening, to affect these people, and for these people to acknowledge and question what their Government is doing", Cullen said.

Peace activists from Peace Action Wellington have today locked themselves to the gates of the Australian High Commission preventing anyone from leaving, to draw attention to the situation of the refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island. "In his time as Immigration Minister Ruddock oversaw the opening of the Nauru detention centre, and spread vicious falsehoods about refugees throwing their children overboard so as to stoke racism in the electorate", said Holly Brooke, one of the protesters.

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She said she did not intend to pursue direct talks with Papua New Guinea until she had a firm answer one way or the other from Turnbull. "I see the need and the role New Zealand needs to play", she said. "I think it's clear that we don't think what's happening there as acceptable, that's why the offer's there", she said.

Ardern said she would not offer a deal where refugees who resettled in New Zealand would be barred from going to Australia.

As Australia had undertaken preliminary screening of the refugees and held their files, that was likely to be the swiftest way to make an arrangement. "I'm interested in the fastest route".

Papua New Guinea's High Court ruled a year ago that the Manus center, first opened in 2001, was illegal and the camp closed on October 31, when Australian-funded security staff withdrew.

A lawmaker said the Australian government is responsible for the deteriorating conditions facing refugees in a camp in Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, saying Canberra must provide consular access for those wishing to return to their countries.

But by the end of the day in Australia it was unclear what steps authorities would take next.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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