Albanese praises retiring NZ PM Ardern

In the wake of Jacinda Ardern's shock resignation, Anthony Albanese has praised his New Zealand counterpart as a woman who led with intellect and strength.

Ms Ardern announced on Thursday she will retire as prime minister after an imminent partyroom vote for her successor.

The prime minister said Ms Ardern had "shown the world how to lead with intellect and strength".

"She has demonstrated that empathy and insight are powerful leadership qualities," he wrote on Twitter.

"Jacinda has been a fierce advocate for New Zealand, an inspiration to so many and a great friend to me.

"I wish (her) and her family well in the next chapter of their lives."

Foreign Minister Penny Wong also thanked Ms Ardern for her service and friendship.

"Jacinda brought strength, compassion and kindness to leadership, gaining the admiration of so many around the world," she said.

"You are a source of inspiration to me and many others."

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said Ms Ardern wasn't a "garden-variety prime minister", describing her as an "incredible source of strength".

"Jacinda Ardern gave a small country a very big voice," he said.

Liberal frontbencher Angus Taylor wished Ms Ardern well, noting it had been a "tough time" to be in government on both sides of the Tasman.

"It is crucial we have a strong New Zealand ... and I hope they move on, find a new leader and go from strength to strength in coming years," he told Sky News.

Relations between the two countries went through a bumpy patch under Scott Morrison's prime ministership, particularly over immigration and refugee issues, the treatment of New Zealanders living in Australia, COVID-19 border settings and different takes on China.

Since 2014, Australia has used the Migration Act to cancel visas for NZ residents on criminal or character grounds.

Thousands of New Zealanders have been handed a one-way ticket across the Tasman over the past nine years.

But the election of the Albanese government last year was widely seen as a "reset" in the relationship.

The pair had worked on giving Kiwis living in Australia more rights, including being able to vote and gain an easier pathway to citizenship.

There are also plans in train for annual bilateral meetings between key ministers.

But the trans-Tasman neighbours haven't been in lockstep on everything, after differences emerged in Pacific migration plans at last year's Pacific Island Forum.

Mr Albanese said he is pushing to implement Australia's first Pacific-specific migration plan as his government works to deepen ties in the region.

Labor has pledged to run a ballot each year, with 3000 places for citizens from the Pacific and East Timor.

New Zealand scrapped a plan to preference Pacific migration, a move Ms Ardern attributed to COVID-19 at the time.