Sonny Bill Williams lobbies Australian PM Scott Morrison to accept NZ refugee offer

Former All Black Sonny Bill Williams and ex-Socceroo Craig Foster will ask Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to accept an offer that would see refugees allowed to resettle in New Zealand.

In 2013, New Zealand offered to resettle 150 refugees trapped in Papua New Guinea and Nauru each year. 

Eight years on, Australia has not taken up the offer, arguing that refugees could use New Zealand as a back door to get into Australia.  

More than 230 asylum seekers are currently held in Australia's offshore detention centre. Another 1200 refugees occupy detention centres or hold 'final departure bridging visas' in Australia.

"These people have fled from danger and persecution in their home countries, seeking only safety in Australia," Williams says in a Stuff column. Almost eight years later - eight years! - they are still in limbo, with no idea what their futures hold.

But the imminent conclusion of the 2016 resettlement deal with the USA means New Zealand's offer stands as the most humanitarian solution.

"Eight years is a long time, but New Zealand has consistently said the offer is still on the table. The ball is well and truly in Australia's court and with the US deal about to end, what alternative does the Australian Government have?

"For some who fled their dangerous homelands as young men and women, even boys and girls, an important part of their lives has been ripped away from them. They've lived in limbo year after year, waiting endlessly for a decision that's never come.

"After eight years, now is the time for kindness."

Morrison will be in Queenstown this weekend, meeting with NZ counterpart Jacinda Ardern.

On Sunday, Williams, Craig and Amnesty International's Dr Graham Thom will ask Morrison to reconsider Australia's position and allow those affected to resettle in New Zealand.