Prime Minister Bill English says he does not have first date nerves in advance of his own first phone call with US President Donald Trump, despite the bruising experience of Australia's Malcolm Turnbull.

Speaking at Waitangi, English said he is looking forward to speaking to Trump despite Turnbull's experience.

"Well, yes I am actually. We are yet to see just when that will happen but there is no reason to believe that won't be a civil and maybe direct conversation," English said.

Trump had reportedly ending his call with Turnbull early, described it as the "worst call" he had had and shouted about Turnbull's insistence he abide by a US agreement to take refugees from Australia's centres in Nauru and Manus Island.


English said he was not nervous about his own call.

"We'd expect to maintain the very good relationship we have with the US. Talking to the President has always been part of that. There is a long history of differences of view between the US and New Zealand, going back to Vietnam so I don't see why that should make much difference to the phone call."

He said he would raise concerns with Trump, including over "recent issues." That is likely to include the recent restrictions on travel to the US for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries as well as the US withdrawal from the TPP.

And while New Zealand and Australia often describe each other as 'family' English was steering well clear of taking sides by going into bat for brother Turnbull over the spat with Trump. Asked if Turnbull was treated badly, English said he'd leave that to Turnbull to answer.

"I'm not going to comment on discussions between two other leaders of countries. With these things, if there are leaks or different versions of it or whatever, you want to be careful about jumping to conclusions about it."

English was not concerned about the contents of his own conversation with Trump being 'leaked.' "It's quite possible, but I'm not worried about it."

While Trump has broken with convention through his tweeting and open appraisals of other countries' leaders, English indicated he would not restrain himself because of that. Nor would he follow suit.

"I don't think that should change our approach. We have a way of doing things, which is to communicate with our friends and allies on a pretty open basis. If political communication is changing in the US, we are still doing the same thing."

While English said there was no reason his first call with Trump would not be civil, Turnbull had learned the hard way first impressions were not always right.

In a conversation former PM John Key after Turnbull's first call with Trump, Turnbull told Key he believed Trump would be "easier to deal with than people think."

Key spoke of that conversation to John Roughan for an updated edition of the biography John Key - Portrait of a Prime Minister, which is due for release next week.

Key said that shortly after the US election he was called by Turnbull who told him he had spoken to President-elect Donald Trump.

Key asked how it went and Turnbull described Trump as "thoroughly professional and businesslike."

When Key then asked what Turnbull thought Trump would be like, Turnbull replied: "easier to deal with than people think."