New Zealand has long been touted as a destination for refugees currently languishing in limbo in Australia's offshore detention regime.
New Zealand has long been touted as a destination for refugees currently languishing in limbo in Australia's offshore detention regime.

New Zealand denies knowledge of Australian refugee move

If the Australian government is planning on finally picking up New Zealand's offer to resettle refugees, the Kiwis are none the wiser.

New Zealand has long been touted as a destination for refugees currently languishing in limbo in Australia's offshore detention regime.

A deal for New Zealand to take 150 refugees was brokered by former prime ministers Julia Gillard and John Key in 2013, but has never been used.

In the last month, it was reported independent Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie made Kiwi resettlement a precondition of her support for the repeal of medevac laws.

With the passage of that bill in the Senate on Wednesday, New Zealand Immigration minister Iain Lees-Galloway said no one in Australia had picked up the phone regarding the deal.

"I haven't had any conversations with the Australian Government," he said.

"The offer remains on the table

"It's on the table and we're happy to help if they want to take the offer up. We'll wait and see."

Asked whether Australia should do so, Lees-Galloway said it was "a decision for them".

Long-term detainee Behrouz Boochani surfaced in New Zealand last month, declaring himself a free man after taking up a one-month visit visa to speak at a writers festival.

He is expected to seek asylum in New Zealand rather than return to Papua New Guinea.



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