Foreign Minister Winston Peters is heading to Canberra on Tuesday for talks with his counterpart where two sensitive issues are expected to be raised: detention of New Zealanders without charge, and offshore asylum seekers.
Peters is not planning to meet Peter Dutton, the Home Affairs Minister who has taken a tough line on both the deportation of Kiwis and New Zealand's offer to take 150 asylum seekers being processed offshore for Australia in Nauru and PNG.
But Peters and Ardern raised the temperature on both issues today. Peters said New Zealand would never treat Australians in New Zealand the way that Australia was treating New Zealanders - by detaining Kiwis with a past criminal record.
And Ardern said she wanted the offshore asylum seekers discussed at the Pacific Islands Forum in two weeks – which is being held in Nauru.
She said she will be meeting World Vision this week which has just called for her to make the offer of 150 asylum seekers directly to Nauru – where 119 children are being detained.
Peters declined to comment on what it would mean for the transTasman relationship should Dutton become Prime Minister amid the current political turmoil in the Liberals.
"If there is a spill on in Australian politics - and I might say it has been rather too frequent in the past 15 years - then my job is not to comment on it."
"Right next door with our closest economic partner, very wise to keep our counsel," he told reporters.
"I won't be speaking to Mr Dutton but I will certainly be making it very clear in a speech I'm making to the Australian Press Club in Canberra what I expect from a country that shares the same foundations in law, in British laws, that we have."
I have a hope an expectation at least that I will at least be given an opportunity to be exposed to some of the issues around refugees on the island. What form that takes is not yet clear.
The two countries had never needed each as much since World War II, he said. But there was no reason why New Zealand or countries like Samoa that believed in natural justice "shouldn't make it clear to our Australian cousins what we expect."
"We would never apply that law against an Australian in New Zealand, without first having recourse to the court of law of our country."
Last year more than 600 New Zealanders with criminal recrods were deported on grounds of "bad character".
Peters made a special appeal to Dutton to release a 17-year-old who had been held for several months in an adult facility.
He said he did not expect to raise the issue of asylum seekers on his visit to Australia – but he said that at a separate press conference before Ardern's comments at her post-Cabinet press conference.
And even if he does not raise it, there is a good chance that Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will warn New Zealand against raising the issue in Nauru. It may well be seen by Australia as coming close to interference.
Ardern reiterated the fact that New Zealand's offer to take some of the asylum seekers applied equally to Australia's offshore processing centres on Nauru as it did to Papua New Guinea.
New Zealand had made the offer directly to Nauru in the past but it had said it wanted to work through Australia.
Asked if she would be bringing it up at the Pacific Islands Forum said "I imagine this amongst many other issues are likely to be the subject of discussion at PIF."
New Zealand respected Australia's right to manage its own policy, which was aimed at stopping people smuggling she said.
Asked if she would consider visiting the detention centre on Nauru, she said she would be there for a restricted amount of time and "time constraints are a bit of a difficulty given the PIF programme."
"I have a hope an expectation at least that I will at least be given an opportunity to be exposed to some of the issues around refugees on the island. What form that takes is not yet clear."
The Nauru Government has told journalists covering the forum that their visas will be issued on condition they report only on the forum.
She said New Zealand would never enforce expectations on what would or wouldn't be reported in New Zealand.
"I would maintain that same principle for our journalists, wherever they travel," she said.
But she agreed that at the very least the asylum seeker issue would be discussed by forum leaders.
"I'm not clear whether it is part of the agenda but that won't stop the conversation, I'm sure."