The majority of Australians support the resettlement of Manus Island and Nauru refugees in New Zealand.
A Sky News Australia poll, which was carried out last week, found 58 per cent of those surveyed supported the refugees being resettled in New Zealand.
Meanwhile, 19 per cent opposed the move, and 23 per cent were undecided.
The results of the telephone poll of 5000 people follows rising trans-Tasman tensions over the fate of the refugees, who have been living in Papua New Guinea and Nauru after attempts at seeking asylum in Australia.
Australia’s “turn back the boats” policy stops asylum seekers from being resettled in Australia, meaning some have been living in processing centres for years.
Jacinda Ardern has reconfirmed NZ’s offer – originally made by John Key in 2013. But the pressure Ardern has put on Malcolm Turnbull’s government to take up the offer has caused some trans-Tasman tension.
In 2013, former prime minister John Key made the offer to resettle up to 150 refugees in New Zealand.
This offer was reconfirmed more than once after Jacinda Ardern became prime minister, but Malcolm Turnbull’s government continued to turn down the deal.
Ardern put pressure on Turnbull’s government to accept the offer, employing strong rhetoric, saying it was more important to do what was right, than what was popular.
This led to pushback from the Australian Government, which leaked border information – on more than one occasion – about intercepted boats of asylum seekers that were allegedly headed for New Zealand.
The leaks have been seen as an attempt by Australia to remind New Zealand of the protection it provides in terms of intercepting asylum seekers headed for New Zealand.
“New Zealand benefits from our Operation Sovereign Borders,” Turnbull told Sky News Australia.
Following the leaks, Ardern said chatter had not increased following her comments, and this information was not new – there had been multiple reports over the years of boats attempting to make it to New Zealand.
Turnbull said part of the reason for rejecting New Zealand’s offer thus far, was in order to give priority to a US resettlement deal.
That deal is underway, with a second group of refugees leaving Papua New Guinea for the US.
The US agreed Washington agreed to take up to 1250 migrants held in the Australian-run processing camps in the South Pacific. In return, Australia will accept a small number of Central American refugees.
On Tuesday, 58 refugees, mostly from Afghanistan and Pakistan, flew out of Papua New Guinea.
Last year, 54 refugees from Australia’s two offshore immigration facilities were resettled in the US. Another group of 130 refugees on Nauru is expected to leave the island for the US in the coming weeks.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been approached for comment.
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