Prime Minister Turnbull rejects NZ's offer to take Manus Island asylum seekers

Russell Crowe offers house, jobs to resettle Manus refugees in Australia

Jacinda Ardern: 'Hard to ignore human face of Manus Island crisis'

Hollywood star Russell Crowe has slammed Australia for refusing New Zealand's offer to resettle 150 refugees stranded on Manus Island and Nauru.

The government has been facing growing pressure to accept the offer in recent days, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten saying on Friday that Mr Turnbull should honour New Zealand's proposal and Liberal MP Kevin Andrews breaking ranks to join that call on Sunday.

'If one of the men on Manus was your brother, your uncle, your father...your son...,' the New Zealand-born actor tweeted on Sunday.

The relocation of the men is designed as a temporary measure, allowing the United States time to complete vetting of asylum seekers as part of a refugee swap deal, agreed on past year, under which Australia will accept refugees from Central America.

"We want to pursue those and conclude those arrangements and then, in the wake of that, obviously we can consider other ones".

Australia has recognized that numerous asylum seekers are refugees who can not return to their homelands, but it refuses to resettle anyone who tries to reach the country by boat in a policy it credits with dissuading such risky ocean crossings. But the United Nations says some of the new community housing is not ready, a claim denied by Australia.

She also confirmed that New Zealand would not attempt to strike a deal directly with the PNG government.

'The reality is we have an intractable problem at the present time.

More news: Lebanese prime minister Hariri resigns

Australia has brokered a deal with the United States, which will resettle 1250 refugees, subject to the Trump administration's "extreme vetting".

"That is an offer that does remain on the table, so whilst it has not been taken up immediately, the prime minister thanked New Zealand for the offer, acknowledged it and it is something that still remains in place", she said.

"We call on the Australian government. who interned the men in the first place to immediately provide protection, food, water and other basic services", United Nations rights spokesperson Rupert Colville told a news briefing.

"We have serious concerns about the welfare, safety and well-being of the roughly 600 men who remain in the accommodation compound, who are too frightened to leave", Colville said.

This was in the same year it declared, under former prime minister Kevin Rudd, that no asylum seeker on Manus Island would ever be settled in Australia.

"However, the government will not shirk its responsibilities and we are prepared to work with relevant authorities to ensure the needs of refugees and non-refugees are provided and they have access to necessary services".

Ms Ardern has reiterated the NZ offer, first made under John Key's centre-right National government to Australia's previous Labor government in 2013.

Latest News