Australian TV hosts joked about stealing New Zealand's ideas in a light-hearted interview with Winston Peters as he tried to sell the idea of a trans-Tasman border 'bubble'.
Allison Langdon, co-host of Australian breakfast TV show Today, asked Peters if he had spoken with Australian authorities about travel and business opportunities between Australia and New Zealand amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I recognise that idea - it was mine," the Foreign Affairs Minister replied.
Karl Stefanovic, co-host of the TV show, joked: "That's what we do in Australia - we take your ideas and make them our own," to which Langdon added, "We steal your people, too."
Peters said the idea came from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) in New Zealand and that it was put to the Australian media who then put it to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who at the time said he had too much on his plate.
"It was always a great idea from my department, it is a serious plan," Peters said, because Australia and New Zealand are "reliable, trustworthy countries where borders are secure and we can share the borders to expand our economic and tourism base".
Stefanovic said it's a "terrific idea" and asked Peters why it can't progress further. "I think both countries are going to need to develop that relationship even faster now, and why not when we can have a bubble down here?"
Peters said it would be "the start of the rebuild" and that there is no time to waste.
"Every day, every week and every month is very important so we've got to start building good and sound ideas that have a permanence and durability about them and are not experimental... This is a very sound idea."
With 55 percent of New Zealand's tourism coming from Australia, Peters said it couldn't come soon enough.
Langdon mentioned how the New Zealand Warriors team has been granted an exemption from the Australian Government to enter Australia to compete in the NRL season.
"It's tremendous. You need better players over there as you well know," Peters joked.
"You've got half the Pacific Islanders over there and half the Maori population of New Zealand over there playing in your league, and then you've got the Warriors.
"It all adds to far better competition, far better excitement, and you need eight teams and they're the critical eighth team."
Stefanovic then asked, "What about [New Zealand] becoming another state of Australia? That's very positive, isn't it?"
Peters said that was a "genius idea born out of the British that goes back two centuries and most of those ideas didn't go very far... We're still in your New South Wales constitution - have the decency to take us out".
Stefanovic joked, "Why would we when we've got the All Blacks coming this way to play for us?"
Australian tourism is worth nearly $3 billion to New Zealand, and re-opening that market would be an electric shock to the heart to the flat-lining industry.
But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is being cautious.
"One thing I'm not willing to do is jeopardise the position New Zealand is in by moving too soon to open our borders, even to Australia," she said earlier this week.
The same goes for New Zealand's other Pacific Island neighbours.
"We do have to be particularly cautious. [Our] Pacific neighbours [have] not [been] inflicted by COVID in [a] large part and the last thing we would want is to risk that."
She said it's likely any Australians let in should expect to be quarantined.