A decision on whether New Zealand's deployment to Iraq will be extended could come next month when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets Australia's Malcolm Turnbull.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop visited New Zealand on Saturday to talk to her counterpart Winston Peters and said afterwards Ardern and Turnbull would discuss the Iraq deployment at their meeting.

Bishop has concluded her one night visit to New Zealand saying it was time to "move on" from a spat with NZ Labour over the Barnaby Joyce citizenship saga which Bishop had said would make it hard to trust Labour in Government.

After a successful informal meeting with Ardern at Peters' house on Friday night, Bishop said it was a 'delightful' conversation and things had moved on. She described New Zealand as Australia's "essential and natural" relationship.


Prior to meeting Peters today, Bishop told the Weekend Herald she would seek an indication on the new Labour Government's views on a further extension to that deployment to Taji where New Zealand and Australian troops are training Iraqi soldiers and security personnel.

The deployment is due to end later this year while Australia's will run until 2019.

Peters said afterward it was flagged as something to be discussed between Prime Ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Jacinda Ardern at their annual leaders' meeting in Sydney next month. It would also depend on an invitation from the Iraqi Government.

"We did discuss it, but we did not enunciate from our point of view a decision."

Bishop said next week many of the countries involved in Iraq would attend a meeting at Kuwait co-hosted by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson which included Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Al-Abadi would be able to advise what further assistance Iraq might want and the countries involved would be better able to make decisions after that.

"This will depend upon the needs and requirements of other coalition partners in response to a request or otherwise from the Iraqi Government."

The Australian and New Zealand troops are there at the invitation of the Iraq Government.


When the New Zealand troops were first deployed in 2015, NZ First and Labour were both critical of it.

NZ First MP Ron Mark - now the Defence Minister - described the Iraqi soldiers as 'cowards' who did not have the will to fight and questioned why New Zealanders' live were potentially put at risk to train them.

Bishop said the countries involved had seen the success of that training with Iraqi forces making significant progress in reclaiming Islamic State territory.

Peters and Bishop said they also talked about issues such as North Korea, trade, and terrorism.

There was no softening in Australia's stance on New Zealand's offer to take 150 refugees from Manus Island and Nauru - an offer it has repeatedly refused.

That offer was not formally rejected after the crisis on Manus Island when the asylum seeker centre was closed, but Bishop made it very clear New Zealand was at the bottom of a very long list.

She said Australia was still working through its deal for the United States to take more than a thousand refugees and would then look at other options.

She said those options included re-settlement in Nauru, Papua New Guinea or Cambodia - but there was no mention of New Zealand.

She said Australia's border protection meant there had not been a successful people smuggling venture to Australia in more than three years - nor any deaths at sea.

Ardern has repeatedly pushed Turnbull to accept that offer and in return Australian sources have leaked to media reports of boat people being intercepted claiming they were trying to get to New Zealand.

The talks were preparatory to the meeting between Turnbull and Ardern and also covered the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership which Bishop said would be signed in March.

Bishop described it as a high quality agreement with undoubted benefits for Australia.

Peters and Labour were late converts to the agreement, agreeing to support it only after entering government and the US drop out ensured the suspension of many of the investor states disputes settlement clauses.

Peters claimed the US had pulled out for the same reasons NZ First had been concerned, including the ability to sue other governments. He claimed those issues had been turned around "so much so, that Mr Trump wants to be back in."

Bishop had voiced hopes of getting the US back into the deal after US President Donald Trump signified a possible change of heart if a "better deal" could be secured.

Bishop ruled out any chance of that happening prior to the 11 current countries involved signing and ratifying the agreement. If other countries wished to join in it would be negotiated after that.

The text of the revised agreement is yet to be released which Peters said was to allow time for translations into the languages of those countries involved. It was not expected to be ready until the signing in March.