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If refugees using New Zealand as backdoor to Australia barrier to taking Nauru offer, 'we can fix that up' – Winston Peters

If the concern that refugees would use New Zealand as a backdoor into Australia was the barrier to accepting New Zealand's offer to take 150 refugees from Nauru, "we can fix that up", says Winston Peters. 

The Foreign Minister said he did not believe that was the barrier to Nauru accepting New Zealand’s offer of 150 refugees. Source: 1 NEWS

When asked about the possible concern from Australia about refugees using New Zealand as a backdoor, Foreign Minister Winston Peters told journalists he warned about "exactly that happening" in the late 90s. 

"Here we are facing that problem again... and can it be solved? Yes it can."

When asked if New Zealand could pass the law that would mean the refugees could not go to Australia, Mr Peters said, "if that was the greatest concern and if you really had a sense of humanity, and that was the barrier, and I don’t believe it is, then we could accommodate that". 

He said to do that law would have to be reformed. 

Mr Peters said if the issue of accepting New Zealand's offer of 150 refugees would let them gain rights to Australia, "we can fix that up".

In 2013, New Zealand offered to take 150 refugees from Nauru. Source: 1 NEWS

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that would be a decision for Australia, and reiterated the offer. 

Green co-leader James Shaw told media the primary concern should be the health and wellbeing of the refugees in Nauru. 

"That is a terrible, inhumane situation they are in."

However, Mr Shaw said moving into the issue of duel-citizenship is a "pretty slippery slope". 

Immigration Minister Iain Lees Galloway said "who gets into Australia is Australia's business". 

"If colleagues have ideas, I'm certainly happy to consider them but generally it's a sovereign nation's right to determine who can cross their own border."