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New Zealand could resettle the 37 babies destined for Nauru.

Despite overwhelming — and growing — public opposition to the idea, the Coalition appears set on sending 257 asylum seekers, already in Australia, back to the horrors of Nauru.

The number includes 37 children who were born here and it is the plight of these infants, which has citizens, refugee advocates, medical professionals, teachers, churches, humanitarian organisations and no less than five state leaders calling for a more compassionate solution.

New Zealand, it seems, may have one.

Ahead of his meeting with Malcolm Turnbull next week, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that Prime Minister John Key has said he is open to taking the children, otherwise destined for offshore detention.

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Some of the babies being threatened with deportation to Nauru.
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In 2012, Mr Key struck a deal with former-PM Julia Gillard to resettle 150 refugees a year from the Nauru or Manus Island detention centres.

Under Abbott’s leadership the deal was scrapped; the message to people smugglers needed to be “crystal clear”, he said.

In January, 28 refugees living on Nauru sent a handwritten letter to the New Zealand government asking to be relocated there by way of the forgotten agreement.

The group had been found to have a well-founded fear of persecution in their homelands but were only awarded temporary residence in Nauru.

“Australia will not accept us despite us asking them for safety,” they wrote in the letter, which was published by the Guardian.

“They gave us to the Nauru government and told us we were now their responsibility. Nauru has not given us, and does not have the means to give us, permanent protection and safety.

“After 30 months in mouldy tents and now in the community where we are not accepted, some of us now have travel papers which give us the freedom to leave.

At the time, New Zealand’s Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse responded that it was up to Australia, but that the government remained wiling — and able — to assist.

The Prime Minister has again reiterated the commitment.

“That offer is there. Historically, the Australians have said no but it is part of the 750 allocation that we have and if they wanted us to take people then, subject to them meeting the criteria, the New Zealand government would be obliged to do that because we’ve given that commitment that we’d do so,” Mr Key said.

Asked if the offer would extend to the 37 babies he said: “That’s potentially possible but it would need to fit within the criteria that they are refugees as defined by the broader category that we take.”

So, what do you say Malcolm?

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