Speaking about Australia's engagement in the Pacific as its largest donor on the heels of Winston Peters' talk of a Pacific reset, he said he was "look [ing] forward to New Zealand stepping up as well" - a remark Ardern insisted she did not see as a dig.
In a later solo press conference, Ms Ardern said it "makes no sense" for a convicted criminal to be deported to New Zealand when they have "never stepped foot" in the country, but acknowledged there had been some improvements in the appeals process.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been formally welcomed to Australia in a ceremony at the Australian Governor-General's official residence in Sydney.
Asked specifically whether it was moral to deport people whose connections to Australia were far more significant than New Zealand, Turnbull said: "the answer to your question is yes".
The offer has been extended several times under Ms Ardern's leadership and by previous NZ leaders, but Australia has not accepted the offer.
"There is a right of appeal which a number of the deportees take up.we were both advised earlier today that just under 40 percent of those appeals are successful, so the process is in accordance with Australian law, and the process is a fair and just one".
Mr Turnbull responded by saying their meeting "demonstrates the strong and enduring partnership between Australia and New Zealand".
In November last year, the offer was put on the table by Ms Ardern to take 150 refugees a year from Australia's off-shore run detention centres.
The two leaders fronted the media outside Kirribilli House in Sydney after morning meetings.More news: Last full moon of winter rises
Mr Turnbull said the leaders also discussed the ongoing effort to train police and security forces in Iraq.
At one point during the press conference, when Ms Arden was interrupted by adoring fans Mr Turnbull said: 'You've got some fans, Prime Minister, you should wave to them'.
"We have also agreed to jointly commission a review of our policy and regulatory frameworks to ensure that they are creating an environment in which trans-Tasman digital trade is as open and facilitative as they are for conventional trade".
Even Ardern's recent announcement that New Zealand would reinstate its Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control became an opportunity to point out divisions, with Australia opposed to the Nuclear Prohibition Treaty that New Zealand is pushing to ratify ahead of schedule.
"Fundamentally, our alliance.is built on shared values, that's the most important thing".
"Shared values, democracy, the rule of law, freedom, the enterprise of Kiwis and Australians working together".
Ms Ardern said her country's stance enhanced its credibility on the North Korean nuclear threat.
Ardern offered to return Turnbull's hospitality with a barbecue on our side of the ditch - she will hope that by then, Turnbull will have settled into both his new Allbirds and relations with her new Government.