27 Feb 2015

Abbott and Key prepare for talks

5:40 am on 27 February 2015

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will arrive in Auckland later today on his first official visit to New Zealand.

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott (left) and Prime Minister John Key meeting in Perth before WWI commemorations in Albany get underway on 1 November 2014.

Tony Abbott and John Key pictured in Perth in November 2014. Photo: RNZ / Craig McCulloch

The trip comes amid much focus on Australia and New Zealand's involvement in the fight against Islamic State.

John Key this week announced a 143-strong deployment to train Iraqi soldiers in Taji, north of Baghdad.

Australia already has 200 special forces soldiers in Iraq and the ABC is reporting Mr Abbott is set to announce hundreds more will be sent to work as part of a joint training mission with New Zealand.

Mr Abbott will be welcomed at Government House late this afternoon, and the two leaders will hold formal talks tomorrow morning.

Mr Key said they would discuss a range of political, economic, social and security issues.

"Including advancing the single economic market, our engagement in regional trade initiatives and our co-operation on global defence and security issues.

"We will also mark significant milestones, including the centenary of the First World War and the formation of the ANZACs, and Australia and New Zealand's co-hosting of the Cricket World Cup.''

Mr Abbott and Mr Key will also attend the Australia-New Zealand World Cup cricket match at Eden Park tomorrow afternoon.

As part of the visit, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will meet with Foreign Minister Murray McCully, and Australian Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb and Trade Minister Tim Groser will lead the annual Closer Economic Relations (CER) Ministerial Meeting.

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