Australian Immigration Minister calls New Zealand a 'bad option' for Manus Island refugees

Australian Immigration Minister calls New Zealand a 'bad option' for Manus Island refugees
Photo credit: AAP

Australia's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has rejected suggestions that refugees currently held offshore on Manus Island could be successfully resettled in New Zealand. 

Mr Dutton called the plan a "bad option" as people smugglers could take the opportunity to market NZ as an alternative pathway to Australia.

"If there is a back door way that opens up I can promise you people smugglers are biting at the bit to take money off innocent people and to get back onto boats," he told Sky News Australia.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern offered a place in NZ for 150 Manus Island refugees at a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Sunday, but the offer was rejected.

Australian Labor Party immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann urged the government to accept NZ's offer, saying that the situation on Manus was now urgent.

Currently around 600 refugees are refusing to leave accommodation at a formerly Australian run detention centre. 

Australia's government is urging them to move to a new facility in Lorengau but the refugees argue the facility is unsafe and refuse to leave current accommodations despite power, water and food supplies being cut off.

Newshub.