Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop is coming to New Zealand this week, but is not expected to meet with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Bishop and Ardern are yet to officially meet face to face, and have both downplayed the tense episode prior to the last election, when Bishop said she would find it hard to work with a Labour Government.

Bishop is visiting Auckland and Waiheke Island on Friday and Saturday as part of the formal six-monthly foreign policy discussion between the two countries.

The Prime Ministers of both countries do not usually take part in the discussions, as they have their own annual meeting, which this year will take place in Sydney in March. Bishop and Ardern will likely meet then, as those talks involve the Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers of both countries.


Foreign Minister Winston Peters said this week's meeting was part of regular foreign policy consultation with Australia.

"We will discuss in depth the global and regional issues where we have shared interests. Australia is New Zealand's most important bilateral partner and our discussion will help ensure the trans-Tasman relationship is working effectively."

Bishop said Australia's relationship with New Zealand was "an essential and valuable partner in supporting economic growth, stability and security of the Pacific".

The bilateral relationship was Australia's closest and most comprehensive, she said.

"It is underpinned by deep and dynamic links between our peoples through family, business enterprise, cultural activity and sporting rivalry. Around 650,000 New Zealanders live in Australia, and close to 70,000 Australians live in New Zealand.

"Our total two-way trade with New Zealand in 2016-17 was valued at $26.8 billion, with strong growth in the two-way services trade. Australian investment in New Zealand is valued at almost $107 billion and New Zealand's investment is valued at $A46.2 billion.

"Mr Peters and I will discuss how to increase our shared efforts to support Pacific Island countries to tackle development challenges and promote a stable and resilient region.

The two Foreign Ministers last met in November at the APEC in Vietnam.

The furore before the last election came about when Bishop blamed Labour for working with the Australian Labor Party to dig for information on the citizenship of Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.


Bishop said she would find it hard to work with a Labour government in New Zealand after Labour's Chris Hipkins had asked parliamentary questions about the citizenship of someone born to a New Zealander father.

Hipkins had not mentioned Joyce's name, but the questions coincided with media inquiries and lead New Zealand officials to advise that Joyce was a New Zealand citizen. That forced him to resign and stand in a byelection, which he won.

Bishop has since said she accepted Ardern's admonishment of Hipkins for inappropriate action.