NZ PM Criticises Australia Over Manus Crisis As Situation Escalates

Asylum seekers sit on the ground as they refuse to leave the Manus Island detention center in Papua New Guinea

Having already made the offer to Turnbull in person, Ardern said she would again raise the issue with him when they meet this week in the Philippines - on the sidelines of the Asean summit. They say they are thirsty, hungry and sick, but resolute, and they are refusing to leave because they feel unsafe in the Lorengau community to where they are being coerced to move.

The two leaders discussed New Zealand's longstanding offer to resettle 150 men from Australia's detention centres in Papua New Guinea and Nauru little more than a week ago.

'I see the human face of this and I see the need and the role New Zealand needs to play.

But National's foreign affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee said it was "surprising she's made a decision to go so hard on the Australians".

Mr Turnbull had a meeting with US President Donald Trump on Monday morning in Manila and the pair will share dinner together where the US offer to accept 1250 refugees - agreed by former president Barack Obama - is likely to come up.

Local people on Manus Island were never consulted about the offshore detention centres and although the Papua New Guinean government has received huge payments from Australia, little of this has trickled through to local villagers.

Ms Ardern said the unfolding standoff on Manus Island between refugees and Papua New Guinea's immigration officials was not acceptable.

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Bowing to pressure from Papua New Guinea which said it would forcibly evict and "apprehend" those that remained as of Saturday, around 20 men left the camp on Friday for one of the transit centers, three asylum seekers told Reuters.

Acting Prime Minister Julie Bishop said there was no reason for the remaining men to choose to stay, rejecting accusations that conditions and facilities at the new camp were inadequate.

"Their physical and mental health is precarious", he said.

Nai Jit Lam, from the UN's refugee agency UNHCR said earlier this week the withdrawal of critical services had created a high-risk environment for all parties involved.

Manus provincial police commander Chief Inspector David Yapu said in a statement that he "will need some clear directives on our next course of action" since the remainder refused to leave voluntarily.

"This situation is unacceptable for both local people and the refugees".

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