PM discusses refugees detained on Nauru

Nauru President Baron Waqa and Jacinda Ardern spoke about the issue of refugees on the island. Photo: NZ Herald
Nauru President Baron Waqa and Jacinda Ardern spoke about the issue of refugees on the island. Photo: NZ Herald

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern met people working with refugees in Nauru but not any of the refugees themselves during her brief visit to the island.

"I spent a short amount of time working with those who are providing services to refugees, just to get a little bit of an insight into their lives, some of the resettlement here.

"That, from my perspective, was useful given we've made an offer that, in time, we ourselves may in the future host up to 150 refugees from here, Ardern told reporters.

The Prime Minister was in Nauru on Wednesday for the Pacific Islands Forum. The issue of refugees, detained on the island on behalf of Australia, has been in the spotlight.

Speaking to reporters following talks with other Pacific leaders, Ardern said she had asked to meet some of the organisations working with refugees but was wary about raising the hopes of refugees by speaking to them directly.

"I wanted to hear their views. I wanted to hear the experiences that they're having. But I do need to consider that human side, particularly when one of the things that I think has added to the vulnerability is that state of limbo.

"We're doing all we can, we've made the offer. It's a genuine offer. Australia knows that that's on the table. We cannot, however, go through that process without Australia."

New Zealand has a long-standing offer to take 150 detained refugees, an offer that has so far been rebuffed by Australia, which fears they may use New Zealand as a back-door entry to Australia.

Ardern confirmed that she had spoken to Nauru President Baron Waqa about the issue but the resettlement of refugees outside Nauru was a matter for Australia.

"We talked a little bit about the services that are provided here."

Ardern, and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, who has been in Nauru since Monday, flew out of Nauru late last night.

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