English says Ardern's efforts to bring Manus Island refugees to NZ 'not going to help interests of Kiwis in Australia'




National Party leader Bill English says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's repeated efforts to encourage Australia to allow Manus Island refugees to come to New Zealand could hamper other diplomatic efforts.

Mr English had some advice for Jacinda Ardern, saying a constructive relationship with Australia was crucial for Kiwis in the country.
Source: Breakfast

Ms Ardern has repeatedly pressed Australian politicians to allow 150 refugees detained in Papua New Guinea to come to New Zealand, with the latest effort this week in a meeting with Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten.

It is the Australian government's policy to not let any of the hundreds of detainees resettle in Australia under any circumstances.

The Australian Government has said it doesn't want to disrupt an arrangement it has with the US to take refugees from Manus Island, and also doesn't want them to be able to use New Zealand as a stepping stone to get to Australia.

Mr English, speaking this morning to TVNZ1's Breakfast today, gave "a bit of advice" to Ms Ardern, saying a constructive relationship with Australia included not badgering them.

"It's just a matter of what else the government wants to achieve, especially for Kiwis in Australia - you need a reasonably constructive relationship to make headway with the Australians - they're bigger, they don't have to listen," Mr English said.

"So while she's quite free, I'm sure, to make her point of view about Manus Island refugees clear to evreybody, pushing it too hard just might make it a bit harder to get the other things done."

Mr English went on to describe Ms Ardern's efforts as "getting a bit out of proportion".

"It's just a bit of advice ... the Prime Minister can take it or not, but if you've got the interests of Kiwis in Australia [in mind], we want to make progress ... this is not going to help."

Mr Ardern was also criticised yesterday by National's foreign affairs spokesperson Gerry Brownlee, who said the Australian Government "is clearly frustrated by Ms Ardern's repeated attempts to embarrass it into accepting [the offer]".

The PM says she's only repeating an offer Gerry Brownlee's government made to take refugees from the island.
Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Ardern told her post-Cabinet news conference yesterday that she disagreed with Mr Brownlee's statement.

"All I've done is continue to put an offer that his government instigated," she said.

Mr Ardern said as Mr Shorten reiterated at the weekend, "it's a matter for the Australian Government".

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