The crisis on Manus Island will be top of the agenda when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets her counterpart Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney on Sunday, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says.

Some of the refugees on Manus have appealed directly to Ardern, saying they are begging her to help them.

Ardern will make her first overseas trip as Prime Minister this weekend, meeting Turnbull in Sydney for a meeting over brunch, before returning home.

Lees-Galloway told Radio NZ there was a need to find a compassionate solution quickly, but that was in the hands of the Australian Government.


"Our offer to take 150 of the refugees is still on the table. And the Prime Minister will reiterate that to Mr Turnbull over the weekend...this issue will be top of her agenda.

"I really hope that Australia does take up our offer. We are here to help."

Ardern has said New Zealand's offer to Australia to take 150 of the refugees stands. That has been declined by Australia, given any refugees accepted by New Zealand would end up with the right to live in Australia.

Turnbull has also said resettlement in New Zealand could be an incentive for asylum seekers to board boats.

Last October then-Labour leader Andrew Little said Prime Minister John Key should "cause international embarrassment" to Australia if they do not accept the offer for New Zealand to take up to 150 people a year from offshore detention centres.

"This is a time to step up and say, in an age of world-wide humanitarian crises, one that is on our doorstep, one that involves our nearest neighbour physically and diplomatically then we need to be applying a bit of a stiff arm on it and say, 'we can help'," Little told media at the time.

Asked about those comments, Lees-Galloway said the National-led Government made "very little effort" to encourage Australia to act.

"Our Prime Minister is going to make it a priority."


Lees-Galloway said the situation was a challenging one for Australia.

"They face issues that we don't in New Zealand. I won't comment in advance of the PM's trip to Australia...we can hold a view from here, but we don't have to face the same challenges."