The Prime Minister, seven "travelling ministers" and the Speaker of the House will all head overseas next month for the first of the international trips of the year.

John Key will lead the ministerial group to Australia from January 27-29 for the annual leaders' meeting with his counterpart there, Julia Gillard, and her senior ministers.

Speaker Lockwood Smith will head to Trinidad and Tobago early next month for the biannual Commonwealth Conference of Speakers - an appointment he missed in 2010 when it was held in India. New Zealand will host the conference in 2014.

Travelling with Mr Key will be Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and ministers Steven Joyce, Judith Collins, Tony Ryall, Hekia Parata, Jonathan Coleman and Craig Foss.


Mr Key said several of the travelling ministers had new portfolios with significant transtasman responsibilities. They would meet their Australian counterparts for the second round of a meeting of senior Cabinet ministers, which was first held in 2009.

Messrs Ryall and Foss, Ministers of Health and Commerce respectively, would also attend the first meeting of a new ministerial council overseeing work on a joint therapeutics agency.