Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the Australian Government is being overly sensitive about New Zealand's offer to take Manus Island refugees.
Ardern's comments come after Australia's deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce sent a message to Ardern about Manus Island, telling Newstalk ZB, "I think it's best if you stay away from another country's business. I find that's because others will return the favour at a time that is opportune to them".
Today, Ardern said she was aware of Joyce's comments.
"I have to admit that I do think it is curious that it is still coming up. It is not something obviously that we are still discussing here. We made the offer, and as far as I'm concerned that is that. I notice that the offer still remains on the table.
"We made the offer and that is that. It only seems to be the Australians that seem to continue to raise the issue."
Asked if the Australians were being overly sensitive about New Zealand's offer, given it was made under the previous National-led Government, Ardern said she did.
"There is nothing from our perspective that has changed to cause the ongoing commentary."
Joyce was sworn in again on December 6 after being forced to go to a byelection because he was found, unwittingly, to have New Zealand citizenship and dual citizens are ineligible to service in the Australian Parliament.
He did not mention Ardern by name when speaking on Newstalk ZB, but his comments were clearly directed at her repeated offers for New Zealand's to take up to 150 refugees from Australia's offshore processing centres in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
She also announced last month New Zealand would give $3 million to help with the refugees, which is understood to have offended the Australia Government.
Joyce said that Australia had a tough policy on boat arrivals to stop the thousands of arrivals and over 1000 drownings of people.
"That can't go on and it did stop and that's precisely what we wanted," Barnaby Joyce told Larry Williams.
Asked if New Zealand should back off, he said: "I think it's best if you stay away from another country's business. I find that's because others will return the favour at a time that is opportune to them."
"Let's respect countries'' sovereignty and let the sort out their own issues," he said.
"And if you are going to talk to them at all, talk to them quietly and discreetly, off the record, not via telephone, not via TV."
National leader Bill English said he had seen Joyce's comments, which indicated tension in the relationship.
"If New Zealand wants to achieve things for New Zealanders in Australia we need a reasonable relationship with them. The Prime Minister's campaign on Manus Island I think has gone further than making her own point. It is probably creating some tension in the relationship.
"It is in our long-run interest to have a workable relationship with Australia. And you are now getting senior Australian politicians indicating there is some tension there."
NZ First leader and Foreign Minister Winston Peters said he was confident the current Government would improve relations with Australia above the level achieved under National.
"I've got no responsibility for the comments of Barnaby Joyce. And it will just have to be for the Australian consumers and voters to judge that. Though I do congratulate him on a stunning comeback in this byelection.
"I said at the time that I took the job that our relations could be much better and I'm going to work on it. And that's what I'm doing…I'm pretty confident we will get the kind of outcome that we want, but we will need about two and a half more years on it."