As Australia moves to permanently ban refugees who try to reach it by boat, Amnesty International New Zealand says this country has to speak out.
The human rights group is one of many which has publicised abuses happening at the Australian run detention camps on Nauru and at Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.
Amnesty said recent research it has conducted shows the vast majority of New Zealanders want Prime Minister John Key and his government to challenge Australia over the abuses.
Its executive director, Grant Bayldon, said the silence has been deafening, given New Zealand's willingness to point to human rights abuses in other countries.
"It is a completely incoherent approach to then refuse to speak out on such obvious and such frankly awful human rights abuses going on right across the Tasman, on which New Zealand has said nothing. And really the question for the New Zealand government is 'does our mateship extend so far that we won't obvious abuses by the Australian government," said Grant Bayldon