NZ given reminder from Australia that Five Eyes is 'a vital strategic alliance'

Australia has reminded New Zealand of the importance of the Five Eyes alliance during a meeting of trans-Tasman foreign ministers.

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The senator addressed reporters with NZ counterpart Nanaia Mahuta. Source: 1 NEWS

Marise Payne met with her New Zealand counterpart Nanaia Mahuta in Wellington today.

Mahuta raised eyebrows ahead of the diplomatic trip by arguing the Five Eyes group should focus solely on intelligence sharing.

She does not want the network straying to other matters, such as speaking out against China for human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

Senator Payne stressed the importance of the Five Eyes alliance during the bilateral meeting.

"Australia will continue to emphasise the vital nature of the Five Eyes alliance in security and in intelligence," she told ABC radio.

Nanaia Mahuta. Source: Getty

The foreign minister refused to say whether Mahuta's comments had placed a strain on the coalition.

"There is a depth of commitment in the relationship between Australia and New Zealand that is very significant," she said.

"In terms of the Five Eyes, what I have found in the last year in particular and certainly in the last little while, is a very significant level of engagement across counterparts."

Along with Australia and New Zealand, the Five Eyes alliance comprises the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the country's relationship with the Five Eyes alliance had not changed.

"Five Eyes remains our most important security and intelligence partnership and that has not changed," she told reporters.

"New Zealand also has an independent foreign policy, and that equally has not changed."