NZ not an option now for refugees - Dutton

  • 10/12/2017
Peter Dutton.
Peter Dutton. Photo credit: file

Bill Shorten has been criticised for talking up New Zealand as an option for Manus Island refugees when he hasn't had a security briefing on the matter.

Mr Shorten dined with NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Auckland on Saturday where he was expected to discuss her offer of taking 150 refugees from Manus Island, which has already been rejected by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Speaking to journalists beforehand, Mr Shorten said while it was up to the Australian government, it was something he thought was worth looking at closely.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on Sunday wouldn't rule New Zealand out as a future option but says now is the wrong time.

He says some refugees who were potentially destined to leave detention under the arrangement with the US are saying they would rather go to New Zealand.

"We don't want to disrupt the arrangement we have got with the US," Mr Dutton told Sky News on Sunday.

"We don't want people hopping on boats thinking they can get to New Zealand, stay there for a couple of years, become a citizen and then come to Australia."

He said Australia's border force had already stopped four vessels coming across the Torres Strait that were on their way to New Zealand.

"We have to be mindful that the risk has not gone away," he said.

He said Mr Shorten was "clearly working on" a secret policy that would be announced after the next election if they win.

"Australians don't want the people smugglers back in control over who comes to this country," he said.