Ardern keeps pressure on Turnbull over Manus Island

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern doesn't have any scheduled meetings with her Australian counterpart at the upcoming East Asia Summit.

But she plans to get Malcolm Turnbull alone regardless, to continue to press him on the Manus Island refugee crisis.

"What I found at APEC was there were plenty of opportunities to have one-on-ones," she told media from the Philippines, where the heads of 19 countries are meeting to discuss trade and security.

"We haven't scheduled anything, but absolutely it is my intent to talk with him before this meeting concludes."

Ms Ardern's tough stance on Australia's treatment of the 400 refugees on Manus Island has made international headlines. At the weekend she said "harm" was being done, and reiterated New Zealand's offer to take 150 of the men.

"I'll be raising with Prime Minister Turnbull, as I have consistently done, that we have grave concerns over the situation on Manus Island - but also for the refugees on Nauru - and that our hope is to lend a hand as far as we are able in helping resolve this situation."

Australia hasn't yet accepted New Zealand's offer, but at the same time hasn't ruled it out. Former Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee warned Ms Ardern on Sunday, saying there were "a whole lot of things at play here".

"Not the least of which is these people were trying to enter Australia illegally," he told NZN.

Ms Ardern says however the men ended up on Manus Island, they've now been screened and had their status as genuine refugees confirmed.

"I've seen the comments by Mr Brownlee. I stand by the way that we've managed the situation... I share the view that those who exploit people in vulnerable situations by putting their lives in peril need to be dealt with, with the full force of the law. But there are those now that we are talking about who are actually screened to be refugees."

Australia has been reluctant to take up New Zealand's offer, fearing the refugees will use New Zealand residency or citizenship as a backdoor into Australia. Ms Ardern said she would not change New Zealand law to prevent this from happening.

She also said she would not push Australia to change their rules to block re-entry.

"If they did, that would be their decision. That is not a matter for New Zealand. We will treat our residents as residents, and our citizens as citizens."

There have been calls for Ms Ardern to deal with Papua New Guinea officials directly. While Australia has a refugee facility on Manus Island, it's actually a part of Papua New Guinea.

Ms Ardern doesn't believe bypassing Australia and dealing with Papua New Guinea will speed up the process, as Australia has done all the legwork in documenting each refugee's status.

"My focus is on the meeting with Prime Minister Turnbull... that offer has never been directly rejected, so whilst it's still on the table with Australia, that's how I'll pursue it... I don't think going via PNG would add any haste to the issue at hand."

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