Protests in NZ as Ardern talks Manus

Protests in NZ as Ardern talks Manus

New Zealand won't pursue a deal directly with Papua New Guinea, despite Foreign Minister Winston Peters spotted holding talks with PNG's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

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.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was expected to have a more substantive meeting with her Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull about the offer in the Philippines this week, where they are both attending the East Asia Summit.

About 20 activists were outside the High Commission on Monday afternoon, four chained to a gate, campaigning in support of New Zealand's offer to accept 150 refugees and asylum seekers from Australian offshore detention centres. "I see the need and the role New Zealand needs to play", she said.

Ardern said she raised the issue with Turnbull in passing, but they have not discussed it further.

Turnbull this month rejected the refugee resettlement offer from his New Zealand counterpart, Jacinda Ardern, preferring instead to work through an existing refugee swap deal he negotiated with former US President Barack Obama previous year.

Ms Ardern has stressed the "great need" of the 600 refugee and asylum seekers now barricaded inside the closed Manus Regional Processing Centre during a press conference yesterday.

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'We made the offer because we saw a great need.

Ms Ardern said it was faster to organise the logistics of any deal with Australia.

At the same time, New Zealand believes the United States will take "higher quality" refugees off Manus first, leaving New Zealand with poorer quality.

"Ultimately there are a group of people that do need to be resettled", she said.

The Australia-based Refugee Action Coalition said officials destroyed property in the camp and attempted to destroy water wells that have sustained the asylum seekers for the past two weeks.

Their intention was to make staff at Australia's High Commission acknowledge and question their government's actions, spokeswoman Emma Cullen said.

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