New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for brunch in Sydney yesterday.
One of the key topics Ardern raised was Manus Island, where more than 600 refugees seeking respite have had power, water and food supplies cut off. In September Ardern announced she would maintain the previous government’s offer to take 150 refugees from the island. On Thursday, she said the reality of the refugee crisis could not be ignored. “Anyone would look at a situation like that and see the human face,” RNZ reports.
During the Prime Minister’s meeting, Turnbull confirmed Australia would not be accepting the offer “at this time”, the New Zealand Herald reports. Turnbull said he would focus on fulfilling Australia’s agreement with the United States, which plans to relocate 1250 refugees in the US. So far, only 25 have been resettled there.
“Australia is not a trustworthy government,” one refugee said on Radio New Zealand this morning. “They are playing with us.”
Ardern said that New Zealand would continue to keep their offer in place. “The offer is still under active consideration by Australia,” she said. “From New Zealand’s perspective, we want our offer to remain on the table.”
Turnbull and Ardern discussed a number of other issues, including North Korea, terrorism, and the TTP trade deal. They also took the time to get to know each other, with Turnbull reminiscing about childhood trips to Hamilton and addressing Ardern’s DJ history.
In a press conference, Turnbull confirmed the country’s strong relationship. “We have hit it off well and we will continue to do so.”