About 20 asylum seekers on Friday left an Australian-run detention center due to close down in Papua New Guinea, but hundreds of holdouts faced forcible eviction amid an immigration standoff that has blighted Australia for years.
Meanwhile New Zealand's new Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, was hoping to convince her Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, to accept her offer to take 150 refugees from Manus and Nauru. Accusations have also emerged from refugees and their advocates that the West Lorengau site where the Australian Government is forcing detainees to relocate to is inadequate for human habitation.
"This is a strong relationship that we have with Australia, it's an important relationship but as I say, when there is information to update you on then I will", she said.
"It seems like a PR stunt from the New Zealand prime minister to try and focus on one group of refugees which there is a process for, including settlement in the United States", he said.
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"It might work for the audience in New Zealand but I think she does need to show a bit of respect for the hard situation Australia have with dealing with refugees, the hundreds of people who died when they did have a whole swarm of boats turning up in Australia". I think it's clear that we don't see what's happening there as acceptable, that's why the offer's there'.
Ardern said she raised the issue with Turnbull in passing, but they have not discussed it further.
"It continues to be the easiest option is to go through Australia given the screening that's already occurred of those refugees".
They are refusing to move to new accommodation being provided for them elsewhere on the island as they say they will not be safe there.
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"That's their issue, the point I'm simply making is the New Zeland Prime Minister knows they won't take up the offer, no Australain politician would take it up. The refugees are only watching them", he said.
Rejecting United Nations calls to restore utilities to the camp, Papua New Guinea this week said it would "apprehend" those responsible for the stand-off when it forcibly evicted the men.
However, about 420 men still remain inside the facility 12 days after it was officially shut down.
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