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Australia again rejects NZ refugee offer

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/02/2017

Australia has once again rejected New Zealand's offer to take 150 asylum seekers from offshore detention centres.

Prime Minister Bill English told his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull in meetings in Queenstown on Friday that the offer made four years ago still stands.

But it's a case of thanks, but not thanks.

"(The offer) is one that we appreciate but our focus is on completing the arrangements with the United States," Mr Turnbull told reporters in Queenstown on Saturday before flying out of the country.

The offer was first made four years ago during a bilateral meeting between then prime minsiters John Key and Julia Gillard.

"The offer is there and they'll take it up if they want to take it up," Mr English said before the meeting.

"They seem to have their own reasons for not wanting to take it up."

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