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Turnbull at memorial after jumping ditch

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/02/2017 Jennifer Rajca

In a valley surrounded by soaring peaks it's only fitting the Arrowtown war memorial is on a hill.

The towering stone cenotaph was the first stop for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after flying into Queenstown on Friday to meet New Zealand leader Bill English for their first official engagement.

Making their way up a gravel path the pair, accompanied by their wives, passed white crosses of World War I victims before laying wreaths.

Mr Turnbull linked arms with wife Lucy before the Last Post was played and the Australian and New Zealand flags lowered.

War veterans, as well as children from a local childcare centre who have been learning about the Anzacs, watched on as the ode was recited first in Maori and then in English.

The ceremony marked the start Mr Turnbull's fleeting visit as part of the annual trans-Tasman catch-up.

Formal talks on Friday afternoon in the resort town have an economic focus and will canvass more integration in the areas of science.

Ahead of the trip Mr Turnbull had nothing but admiration for the work of former NZ prime minister John Key and Mr English in growing their economy.

But he did acknowledge it helped in having one tier of government - unlike Australia's three - and a smaller economy.

Mr Turnbull though has no plans to follow the NZ lead in broadening the GST and extending it to 15 per cent, insisting the two countries had different tax systems.

There will be no further announcements on pathways to citizenship for Kiwis living in Australia after an agreement was struck last year.

It's estimated up to 70,000 New Zealanders who arrived between February 2001 and 2016 have been a resident for five years and contributed to Australia will be eligible from July 1.

The election of Donald Trump and the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership are expected to hang over the talks.

New Zealand - like Australia - has expressed hope of keeping the deal alive even without America.

Treasurer Scott Morrison and Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos are accompanying Mr Turnbull and will join the discussions with NZ Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges.

Mr Turnbull will later see the sights of the resort town from Lake Wakatipu when he enjoys a private sail aboard a luxury super yacht with wife Lucy.

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