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Ardern planning 'substantive' Manus talks

14 November 2017

Last week Ms Ardern offered for New Zealand to accept 150 refugee and asylum seekers now detained in a number of Australia's offshore centres.

Whether that meeting will go ahead is now in question, after she revealed she'd had another brief chat with Mr Turnbull in passing on Monday morning (local time) but refused to say when any further talks would happen.

Jacinda Ardern wants to have a "substantive" discussion with Malcolm Turnbull at the East Asia Summit about the situation on Manus Island.

The camp inside a Manus Island navy base was declared closed October 31 based on the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court's ruling a year ago that Australia's policy of housing asylum seekers there was unconstitutional.

"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.

This has previously been resisted, with official concerns that it would create a small group of "second-class citizens" in New Zealand that don't enjoy free access to Australia. "I'm interested in the fastest route".

Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm warned for Australia to take it up would be "a fatal mistake, literally a fatal mistake".

But Ms Adern's criticism of Australia's handling of the refugee crisis on the island - which she has described as unacceptable - has prompted a warning from New Zealand's opposition for her to tread carefully.

"He'll know the offer was genuine, it was genuine when it was first made by another Government and another leader, and it remains genuine now".

"I think it's clear that we don't see what's happening there as acceptable, that's why the offer's there", she said.

The confrontation has drawn global attention to Canberra's tough immigration policy, under which asylum-seekers who try to reach Australia by boat are sent to remote Pacific camps on PNG's Manus Island and the island nation of Nauru.

"The people on Manus need our help, they have committed no crime and shouldn't be locked up for exercising their right to seek asylum", said Emma Cullen, spokesperson for Peace Action Wellington.

Ardern planning 'substantive' Manus talks