Jacinda Ardern gets UN backing in bid to take 150 refugees from Manus Island

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1 NEWS

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has now got United Nations backing in her bid to take 150 refugees from Manus Island.

The United Nation's are urging Australia to accept the PM's offer to take 150 refugees.
Source: 1 NEWS

The UN's refugee agency is urging Australia to accept New Zealand's offer, citing concerns about illness in the detention centre.

But Ms Ardern is facing pressure too after claims Australia has intercepted four boat loads of asylum seekers heading to New Zealand.

Ms Ardern is getting plenty of chances to mix it with the big guns at the East Asia Summit in the Philippines capital, Manila.

But she has failed to get the bilateral meeting she wanted with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over her repeated offer to take 150 Manus and Nauru refugees.

"I think we're splitting hairs a little bit here over whether or not it needs to be formally sitting down or over a cup of tea in a waiting room," Ms Ardern told reporters.

But she'll want more than a corridor catch-up following an Australian media report claiming chatter is increasing amongst people smugglers who see New Zealand as a softer target with Labour in power.

"I've been given no indication that chatter ever stopped. We know that this is an ongoing issue. It has been an issue for a number of years," Ms Ardern said.

I don't think that we are an easy target "
Kelvin Davis, Labour's deputy leader

The report also claims Australia has stopped four boats carrying 164 asylum seekers from heading to New Zealand in the past.

"It's not going to be easy crossing the Tasman Sea. So I don't think that we are an easy target," said Kelvin Davis, Labour's deputy leader. 

The timing as much as the content of the story is under the spotlight.

"The fact that there's is a story at all, when there hasn't been for a long time, I think should be an indication to the Government that going through this show of putting pressure on the Australian Government does have some cost," said Bill English, National leader.

Ms Ardern will meet the Indonesian leader this evening where she'll get a chance to address asylum seeker issues. 

After that comes her last big test on this trip, a meeting with firebrand Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte has faced global criticism for his deadly campaign on drug dealers, and just this week claimed killing a man as a teenager.

"Our view is that that number of deaths certainly requires investigation and oversight, at the very least," Ms Ardern said.

Just how those comments go down with the prickly Philippines president is hard to predict.

Earlier, a chat with India's leader followed a full bilateral sit down with crucial trade partner China.

The meeting coincided with calls back home for an inquiry into how much political influence China now has in New Zealand.  

"I think our relationship with China of course economically is important. But I'll maintain the same level of vigilance in any international relationship that I maintain," Ms Ardern said.

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