Labor has reaffirmed its plan to take up New Zealand’s offer to resettle refugees, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was now even firmer in his view that it is not in Australia’s interest.
Mr Morrison met with his NZ counterpart Jacinda Ardern in Auckland on Friday where immigration and national security issues were raised.
Morrison arrives in Auckland for Trans-Tasman talks
Ms Ardern rejected media reports her country was not open to resettling single men from Manus Island and Nauru.
She said the offer to resettle male and female offshore-held asylum seekers was still on the table.
However, Mr Morrison said the passing of laws in Australia – against the wishes of the government – to more easily enable medical evacuations, had made it even harder to accept the New Zealand offer.
Labor immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann told AAP the prime minister was choosing to leave vulnerable people languishing in indefinite detention.
“Australians understand our nation can be strong on borders and still treat people humanely,” he said.
“Labor, if elected, will accept New Zealand’s generous offer to resettle refugees with appropriate conditions similar to those under the US arrangements and negotiate other third country resettlement options as a priority.”