Refugees detained trying to reach NZ

A British journalist has spoken to refugees detained in a camp in Timor, who were stopped after trying to reach New Zealand last year.

Phil Miller told Newshub the boat that the group of 65 Sri Lankan refugees were on was intercepted in international waters by the Australian Navy.

The refugees told Mr Miller the crew was paid to take the refugees to back Indonesia, where they have been detained in a camp in Timor for more than eight months.

Refugees detained trying to reach NZ

Mr Miller and his team visited the camp last week as part of a documentary and said conditions at the camp were basic and many of the refugees felt helpless.

"The conditions at the camp have got worse over the eight months for the detainees that have been held there.

"We weren't allowed access into the camp but we were able to interview the refugees in secret when they slipped away from the guards.

"There's no school for the children in the camp, the roof is falling down and it's incredibly hot."

Those at the camp told Mr Miller they had no idea how long they would be there for.

Refugees detained trying to reach NZ

He said although they understood it was a long way to go to reach New Zealand, they believed their boat was strong enough to get them all the way here.

"They seemed very confident in the ability of their ship and the ability of their crew," said Mr Miller.

He said the New Zealand Government was to consider their claims they could have a strong chance of being granted asylum.