Rescuing New Zealanders in Australian deportation centres, repatriating the remains of Kiwi soldiers and more health spending - political leaders have listed what they think should come before giant pandas.
United Future leader Peter Dunne took a swipe at the Govermment for being more interested in pandas than helping New Zealanders in Australian deportation centres.
The Minister of Internal Affairs has criticised National's repsonse to the growing number of Kiwis hit by Australia's tough new immigration policy as inadequate and subservient.
This morning he linked the issue to news that the Defence Minister, Gerry Brownlee, was personally delivering a proposal to bring giant pandas to New Zealand to a breeding facility in China.
"Um, chasing pandas while New Zealanders languish in Australian detention centres???" he tweeted.
The Prime Minister, John Key, has pledged taxpayer money to help bring pandas to Wellington Zoo, and Mr Brownlee's personal intervention is likely to boost the zoo's chances.
It hasn't pleased everyone, however. Labour leader Andrew Little put out a press release titled, "defence minister, not panda pimp".
"The cost of housing, feeding and leasing pandas is considerable. Less than three years ago John Key was saying there were 'higher priorities' for public spending.
"That hasn't changed. There still are far more important issues...including the 150,000 Kiwis who can't get a job, the Auckland housing crisis, a $1.7 billion hole in the health budget and a defence force in tatters."
And NZ First deputy leader Ron Mark said the money would be better spent on the repatriation of remains of Kiwi soldiers buried overseas.
"It is insulting to their memory and families that this government won't bring our boys home. Yet it is doubly insulting the Minister of Defence is prioritising pandas over patriotism."
Mr Key said that he was unaware Mr Brownlee was delivering the panda proposal. "But in the end...there is nothing new in terms of the Government's perspective, which is we think it would be a nice thing for New Zealand to have, but ultimately what level of contribution we'd be willing to make and whether that's going to move us up the queue, I don't know.
"They [giant pandas] are popular and there is a lot of demand for them."
Wellington City Council is to look at a business case for bringing the animals from China to Wellington Zoo, but one councillor who is opposed believes the project could cost up to $100 million.
If the council came up with a proposal the Government would likely commit funds to help out.
Mr Dunne launched a blistering attack on the Government's approach to Australia in his Dunne Speaks newsletter this morning.
"In recent years our foreign policy has become too craven and trade-focussed and lacking a moral compass. In short, we have become too silent, lest we cause offence," he wrote.
"Relying on quiet words in diplomatic ears; nods and winks; pull-asides; text messages, or whatever, is not the way to conduct foreign policy...it is time to abandon the chin-dripping subservience we are lapsing into."
A growing number of Kiwis living in Australia are being held in deportation centres, including isolated Christmas Island, after a tough new immigration policy.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has met New Zealand counterpart Murray McCully and Prime Minister John Key in New York and afterwards said the Australian Government would talk further about its policy of detaining and deporting non-Australian offenders who have served a prison sentence of a year or more.
Ms Bishop said she would ask Australia's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to speak with New Zealand Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse but gave no indication the policy would be reviewed.
She said the New South Wales Police would investigate the death of Junior Togatuki, 23.
Togatuki, who had mental health illnesses, died in solitary confinement in Goulburn's Supermax prison. He had finished his sentence but was being held awaiting deportation to New Zealand, a country he left aged four.
Mr McCully had initially sent a text Ms Bishop about the case, before meeting her in person.
"This week there has been the saga of the New Zealanders being held in Australian detention camps prior to deportation here," Mr Dunne wrote.
"Our response has been to send a text to the Australians about what is going on. I am not standing up for Australian criminals...but the treatment being meted out to them is excessive and out of line with the vaunted special relationship between our two
Mr Dunne pointed to the "appallingly tardy" response to the Syrian refugee crisis and the case of a New Zealander jailed in Myanmar for insulting Buddha as examples of New Zealand being hesitant to become involved until public opinion demanded it.
His stinging criticism comes as Greens parties in Australia and New Zealand jointly call on the Australian Government to stop the indiscriminate deportation of New Zealand offenders from Australia.
About 200 New Zealanders are being held in seven detention centres awaiting deportation.