Stalemate as refugees dig in at closed Australia camp in PNG

Australia Refugees

The 600 men holed up at the Manus detention centre are still refusing to move to new facilities

DESPITE setting another deadline for the 379 refugees and asylum seekers at the Manus Island regional processing centre to leave yesterday or face forcible eviction, Manus police commander David Yapu says force will not be used to move them.

The offer to take in 150 refugees from Manus Island and Nauru has been on the table since 2013 but is an issue Ms Ardern has gone hard on since becoming prime minister.

Under the U.S. deal, up to 1,250 asylum seekers detained by Australia in Papua New Guinea and Nauru in the South Pacific could be resettled in the United States in return for Australia accepting refugees from Central America.

"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.

"What I do know is that one of the concerns the Australians will have is if these people come to New Zealand and they get residence here, and then of course because New Zealanders have pretty much free access into Australia they have back-door way into Australia". "I'm interested in the fastest route".

Mr Turnbull most recently rejected New Zealand's offer last Sunday when Ms Ardern travelled to Sydney for their first face-to-face meeting.

Government frontbencher Matt Canavan criticised the genuineness of the offer.

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.

There are 400 refugees and asylum seekers who have barricaded themselves inside the mothballed detention centre, saying they fear for their safety if they leave.

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

Mr Trump has called it a "dumb deal" but Mr Turnbull said it is Australia's priority over New Zealand's offer.

A woman protester at the gates of the Australian High Commission in Wellington.

With many detainees complaining of illness bought about by the unsanitary conditions in the camp, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) urged Australia to allow 150 of them to resettle in New Zealand.

The objective of the protest was to prevent anyone inside from leaving, Peace Action Wellington spokeswoman Emma Cullen said.

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