Most Nauru and Manus Island refugees are sick, depressed - report

A plea for New Zealand to intervene at Manus Island is being reignited. 

A Sydney Morning Herald report suggests three-quarters of refugees on both Manus and Nauru are seriously ill. Four fifths are suffering depression and a third have attempted suicide.

Ian Rintoul from Refugee Action Coalition says we need to bypass Australia's attempts to block help.

"The Government here in Australia says all the time questions of settlement are issues for the Nauru and the Papua New Guinea governments. But they continue to block the shift of any people from Manus and Nauru to New Zealand."

Australia has previously declined an offer from New Zealand to take 150 people, fearing they'll use New Zealand as a back door to get into Australia.

Rintoul says New Zealand should go directly to the affected countries.

"If New Zealand made it clear they're going to do it independently of Australia, then that option of resettlement might happen quite quickly."

A specialist plastic and reconstructive surgeon who contributed to the report told the SMH some of those being held haven't had proper healthcare for six years.

"The reason for this level of burden of disease is partly because they have diseases caused by conditions in which they've been forced to live," said Neela Janakiramanan.