Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her opposite number, Australia's new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, want to take ties between the two countries "to a new level" and to "reset" a relationship which had soured over Australia's "501" deportations policy.
A minor tweak to that policy looks possible, after Ardern and Albanese's meeting in Sydney this week.
A change would likely mean fewer deportations of people who have little connection with New Zealand.
Another possible policy change off the back of the visit could be improvements to the rights of New Zealanders living in Australia, possibly reopening a pathway to citizenship. New Zealanders have the freedom to live and work in Australia, but former prime minister John Howard severely curtailed their ability to gain residency and citizenship and the rights that come with it.
Changes to 501 policy could be signalled as soon as next month when Australian and New Zealand ministers will get together in Sydney to discuss issues in the portfolios of climate, finance, home affairs, and foreign affairs. Ardern and Albanese will lead those meetings.
Any dramatic movement on 501s is unlikely; Albanese was at pains to affirm the policy will remain intact. Any possible changes would be in the directions around how it is implemented.
The announcement came as Ardern wrapped up a whirlwind, 25-hour visit to Australia. The trip was not about securing concrete policy wins, but about cementing New Zealand's most important diplomatic relationship by securing a strong relationship with its new prime minister.
In this respect, it appeared a success. The pair were keen to demonstrate the strength of their personal relationship in a joint press conference after a day of bilateral engagement between the two countries.
Albanese appeared at ease, joking with Ardern that the pair were probably the only two DJs ever to be elected prime minister. Ardern joked back noting that her DJ-ing days were behind her, whereas it would appear Albanese hasn't yet hung up his headphones.
Albanese described the relationship as "family", and both made a point of the fact they had been moving quickly to cement a relationship.
Ardern and Albanese spoke before he had even delivered his victory speech on election night and Ardern was the first head of government to be welcomed by Albanese in Australia, and the first to be hosted at Kirribilli House, the prime minister's Sydney residence.
Albanese said he had only arrived at Kirribilli about an hour before Ardern, to which Ardern replied she had noticed many moving boxes had not yet been unpacked.
He said wanted to take the relationship to "a new level of cooperation in the mutual interest of both our countries".
But that cooperation might not translate to big moves on 501s. Albanese acknowledged Ardern had made "strong representations" to Australia to change the policy - he even said he too would be pushing for change were he in that position.
"It's not surprising that the Prime Minister will make the strong representations that she had, because I would be if I was in the same condition," Albanese said.
"There could be no argument that the Prime Minister has been very forceful in her views and we have listened to those views," Albanese said.
He said he remained committed to the 501 policy overall, but drew attention to remarks he made as leader of the opposition when he suggested Australia could look at tweaking the policy to take into account the length of time someone had spent in Australia before they were deported. This would mean fewer people who were essentially Australian in all but citizenship being deported to New Zealand.
"I've said that section 501 would be maintained, but if you look at the comments that I made as opposition leader, I stand by them," he said.
Albanese said between now and next month's ministerial meeting both governments would "work through" issues around the policy.
"We've listened to the concerns and there's more work to do," he said.
Ardern said she was not asking Australia to stop deportations entirely, noting New Zealand also had a deportations policy.
She said the 501 issue had been "mischaracterised … for domestic political reasons".
Ardern said New Zealand's goal was greater "reciprocity", which likely means both countries acknowledge when a person should not be deported because they belong, in all respects but literal citizenship, to the country in which they live.
Where "cooperation in the mutual interest of both our countries" looks likely to make the biggest impact is in trade.
What now appears likely is that next year's 40th anniversary of Closer Economic Relations (CER), the groundbreaking trade agreement signed between New Zealand and Australia in 1983 could be used to deepen what is already one of the world's most frictionless trading relationships.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson, who was also in Australia meeting with his opposite number, Treasurer Jim Chalmers, said the countries could deepen relations in areas like climate change, which were not envisaged when CER was signed.
"When you think about CER, from 1983, it's a fantastic agreement - it is the first free trade agreement we entered into in the modern era - and it has endured exceptionally well.
"But when you look now at those sorts of agreements, issues like climate would naturally be part of that if we signed CER today," Robertson said.
"Jim Chalmers proactively mentioned the 40th anniversary as an opportunity to think about where we go from here as we talk about what we do to a really good agreement," he said.
Climate and the Pacific were also on the agenda, and both leaders were at pains to show their alignment.
Albanese used the conference with Ardern as an opportunity to announce Australia would submit an updated emissions reduction target under the Paris agreement. During Australia's election campaign, Albanese had said Labor would cut emissions by 43 per cent of their 2005 levels by 2030.
Ardern said New Zealand "welcomes the ambition that has been expressed by the new government here in Australia because it is good for our region and good for the world".
"The Pacific region has listed climate change as its number one threat and that is not out of symbolism, it is out of reality," she said.
Albanese used the opportunity to take a shot at Australia's new opposition leader Peter Dutton, who had been caught on camera laughing at the predicament of Pacific nations when he was a minister in the previous government.
"You can't have a circumstance where you have the former defence minister and now leader of the opposition standing around and making jokes about people making jokes about people drawing. Neighbours and partners don't think that's funny,
"What they see is that Australia wasn't stepping up in a way that's appropriate and treating them with the respect that they deserve," he said.
Albanese said New Zealand and Australia were in "lockstep" on Pacific issues. China's growing diplomatic involvement in the region has been cited as a concern by both countries. Ardern says she does not want to see the region militarised.
Both leaders stressed their engagement with the Pacific would be led by Pacific island nations themselves. Some of the Islands have criticised New Zealand and Australia's historically "top-down" attitude to Pacific concerns.
"Our approach is based on respect, transparency, and engagement with the civic institutions," Albanese said.
Ardern said the meeting included "a lot of discussion about our desire to work on the priorities of the Pacific together, which is a very specific approach that we've articulated".
"That is very much about the partnership approach with the region," she said.
Both leaders will have the opportunity to test that approach at the coming Pacific Islands Forum. Australia has recently been involved in crisis talks with members of the forum to ensure it did not split apart.
Next month's ministerial meeting will also be an opportunity for Ardern and Albanese to demonstrate whether the strength of their personal relationship translates into policy.