NEW Zealand Prime Minister John Key will make a flying visit to see his new Australian counterpart Tony Abbott later this week.
Mr Key flies to Canberra on Wednesday afternoon for his first meeting with the Liberal leader since he won the election.
The pair will talk for about an hour before a private dinner together, before Mr Key jumps on a plane back to Auckland.
The pair, who know each other well and text-message regularly – even before Mr Abbott’s election, are expected to affirm strong trans-Tasman ties, but a bone of contention will be entitlements for Kiwis living across the ditch.
There are 300,000 New Zealanders on special category visas in Australia, who pay billions of dollars in taxes but are denied some key benefits of permanent residency, such as disability care, welfare and social housing.
Ahead of the election, Mr Abbott, who has been married to a New Zealander for 25 years, was oblivious, saying he didn’t believe that “New Zealand has ever complained”.
However, Mr Key has raised the issue repeatedly since taking office in 2008, with former Labor prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.