Australia Declines Aid from New Zealand in Refugee Crisis

UN implores Australia to resume feeding 'starving' refugees at remote camp

Canberra has been forced on the defensive by the move from Wellington's new government, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull saying Australia would instead prioritise a similar deal with the U.S. to resettle refugees in America, despite slow progress.

About 600 men have barricaded themselves inside the camp on remote Manus island in Papua New Guinea, defying efforts by Australia and PNG to shut it. Food, running water and medical services were cut off by Australia five days ago.

"We call on the Australian government. who interned the men in the first place to immediately provide protection, food, water and other basic services", United Nations rights spokesperson Rupert Colville told a news briefing. Australia wants them to move to new accommodation units but the men fear more attacks by locals, who are opposed to their presence on the island.

Amnesty International executive Director Grant Bayldon says while the rejection is disappointing, the focus needs to keep coming back on Australia to do the right thing.

United Nations rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a news conference in Geneva on Friday about the "unfolding humanitarian emergency" in the Manus island centre, where asylum seekers have been reported digging wells to try to find water.

Service providers and contractors have left the island, according to Australian media reports. The agreement had envisaged resettling up to 1,250 refugees from Manus and Nauru to America, but the vetting process has been slow.

'If one of the men on Manus was your brother, your uncle, your father.your son.,' the New Zealand-born actor tweeted on Sunday.

"We should have a better understanding between two prime ministers of Australia and PNG and repatriate these people", Sir Michael told SBS News after releasing a statement earlier.

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"As I have said in New Zealand, we of course do not have the circumstances that Australia is operating under, but we also can not ignore the human face of what Australia is dealing with either", she said.

Sudanese refugee Abdul Aziz Adam accuses Australia of abandoning them, and hopes New Zealand will offer them sanctuary.

"Our situation is getting worse and we need your help", the other man said.

"I acknowledge that, while New Zealand has not had to contend with these issues on our shores, it's hard to ignore the human face of this situation and nor should it be ignored", Ardern wrote.

A third-country resettlement deal struck between Canberra and Washington has so far only seen 24 refugees flown to the United States.

Ardern's relationship with Australia has been controversial since her election, with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop describing the 37-year-old New Zealand leader as "untrustworthy" after an MP from her own Labour Party delved into former deputy PM Barnaby Joyce's dual Kiwi citizenship status.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten softened Labor's stance on Friday, saying the plan had similarities to the USA resettlement deal to take 1,250 people.

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