Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says she will be asking the New Zealand Government today whether it intends staying with the Anzac training mission in Iraq – a mission which all parties of the new Government opposed.

She would also like to talk about the need to prevent any startup of people-smuggling around Australian waters and the offshore processing of asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

Bishop is due to have her first official talks - on Waiheke Island - with Foreign Minister Winston Peters, whom she first met in Danang, Vietnam in November.

"I struck up a good rapport with him so this is an opportunity to deepen that relationship which I hope will turn into a friendship," she told the Weekend Herald.


She said they would be discussing bilateral, regional and global issues including what will happen in Iraq.

"We will obviously discuss our joint mission in Iraq and I will be seeking an indication of New Zealand's future intentions."

Australia has about 300 personnel at Camp Taji north of Baghdad and New Zealand has about 110. Together they have trained more than 28,000 Iraqi soldiers and security officers in the fight against Isis but Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens all opposed the deployment in Opposition.

Bishop indicated she would like to see New Zealand extend the current mandate, which expires in November, a date set by the previous Government.

"We work very closely with New Zealand," she said. "I think it has been a very successful mission in Taji and, of course we would want that to continue but that is a matter for the New Zealand Government.

"But I will be seeking some indication of New Zealand's intentions."

Bishop said she would be attending a meeting in Kuwait next week co-hosted by United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to discuss with countries currently contributing what might happen next.

New Zealand will be represented at that meeting by a senior official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Bishop told the Weekend Herald that Australian foreign fighters were still an ongoing threat in the region.

"It is still an issue for us, monitoring and tracking those Australian citizens whom we deem to be foreign terrorist fighters in the Middle East.

"There are over 100 that we know of and I've cancelled over 200 passports of those who security agencies tell me pose a risk to the nation in terms of being potential foreign terrorist fighters."

There were also local examples of terrorists seeking to recruit fighters in the Philippines.
"So we are ever alert to what is an ongoing threat."

There have been a number of pressure points in New Zealand's relationship with Australia, including deportation of criminals many who lived almost all their lives in Australia, limiting citizenship opportunities for Kiwis in Australia, the assistance Labour MP Chris Hipkins gave Labour friends in Australia to uncover New Zealand citizenship for Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and repeated offers by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to take up to 150 refugees from Australia's offshore processing centres on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and on Nauru.

"We have moved on from a number of those issue," Bishop said "but we are very keen to continue a strong working relationship with New Zealand at ministerial level and given the change of Government, it is an opportunity for us to get to know new members of the Government."

Bishop indicated she would convey a strong message about people-smuggling, although she avoided criticising Ardern's repeated offer to take refugees.

"I will be stressing that we need to be mindful of not undoing the efforts that have been made to combat people-smuggling. That of course is a priority for us."

The efforts had not been undone.

"I'm just saying you can't take our success in preventing people-smuggling trade from flourishing for granted. People-smuggling remains a real threat to us."

Operation sovereign borders which refuses entry to any asylum seeker from a boat and sends them to offshore processing centres had protected Australia's borders and prevented deaths at sea.

"We need to continue to be vigilant to combat the threat from people-smugglers."

Winston Peters refused to speak to media before the talks.