13 Sep 2007

New Zealand not asked to take more refugees from Australia's refugee camp in Nauru

3:20 pm on 13 September 2007

New Zealand says it has not been approached by Australia regarding more than 70 Sri Lankans refugees who are being held on Nauru.

Yesterday, Canberra granted refugee status to 72 out of 83 Sri Lankans seven months after they were intercepted at sea en route to Australia.

Australia's Immigration Minister, Kevin Andrews, says Australia is exploring resettlement options in other countries for the men, who will remain on Nauru for the time being.

New Zealand's Immigration Minister, David Cunliffe, says Australia has not asked New Zealand to accept any of the Sri Lankans at this stage.

In recent years, New Zealand accepted more than 270 people who had been in the Australian-run detention camps in Nauru and Papua New Guinea once they had been granted refugee status.