NZ and Australian prime ministers meet amid refugee row

8:35 am on 19 February 2016

New Zealand's offer to resettle some of Australia's asylum seekers could be back on the table today.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and and New Zealand PM John Key

Malcolm Turnbull, left, and John Key Photo: AFP

Prime Minister John Key is meeting his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney today for their annual leaders talks amid uproar over the fate of 267 refugees.

The refugees, including 37 Australian-born babies, are about to be sent back to detention camps on Nauru, a move that has sparked widespread community anger in Australia.

Mr Key said he may raise New Zealand's failed bid in 2013 to take refugees from the camps.

That deal was brokered with former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard to resettle 150 of Australia's refugees, but it was never taken up by Ms Gillard's successor, Tony Abbott.

"It's not the number one topic on the agenda but they're well and truly aware that it's been there for a period of time where we've agreed to take 150 refugees out of their camps in Nauru and other places if they wanted us to."

"Historically they've said no to that invitation," he said.

Mr Key said he would also raise the plight of New Zealanders living in Australia, and lobby for better processes for those being deported.

"We're forever hopeful we can get some progress but it's a difficult situation."

He said the issue of New Zealand and Australia working together in Iraq would also be talked about.

"So it'll be a wide-ranging discussion as you'd expect," Mr Key said.

Mr Key and Malcolm Turnbull will also be speaking at a business lunch in Sydney that will be attended by nearly 1000 people.

A delegation of 28 New Zealand business leaders are travelling with the Prime Minister.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs