New Zealand will donate $3 million to supporting refugees stranded on Manus Island, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.
Ardern said Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, whom she spoke with at the East Asia Summit yesterday, understands the position New Zealand has taken. She added that the offer to take 150 people from Manus Island and Nauru still stands, and a screening process is being put in place to accommodate refugees should Australia accept the proposal.
“Our officials will continue to work closely with Australian officials so that we are prepared in the instance that Australia will take up that offer,” Ardern says to RNZ. “That is more progress than we’ve had on the offer in a number of years.”
Turnbull recently declined New Zealand’s offer, opting to continue a refugee deal he negotiated during former US President Barack Obama’s final term in office. Currently, there are more than 400 refugees on Manus Island living without power, food or water.
The $3 million New Zealand has pledged will go towards Papua New Guinea officials and aid agencies who are providing vital food, water and health services to the refugees.
“We intend to work with PNG and other agencies like the International Red Cross to financially support them with any additional needs that may need to be met while those refugees remain on the island,” Ardern said.