New Zealand’s government and its top business people have been invited to this year’s G20 talks being hosted by Australia.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has invited his New Zealand counterpart to this year’s G20 meetings being hosted by Australia, effectively making it the Group of 21.

Mr Abbott presented the invitation to NZ Prime Minister John Key at bilateral talks in Sydney on Friday. NZ is not a member of the G20, which represents the world’s leading developed and developing countries.

“I want the G20 to be an opportunity to not just showcase Australia, but to showcase Australasia,” Mr Abbott told reporters at a joint press conference with Mr Key.

“Effectively it will be a G21 this year.”

The major G20 meetings kick-off later this month with a gathering of the group’s finance ministers and central bankers in Sydney, and ends in Brisbane in November with the Leaders meeting.

Senior NZ business people will also be invited to the B20 meeting – a gathering of business leaders from the G20 countries – in Sydney in mid-July.

The B20 meeting will feature some 400 chief executives from around the world.

Preceding the B20 plus NZ, Mr Abbott said Australia will also host an Australasian business week.

“This is going to be an outstanding opportunity for Australia and New Zealand to showcase our countries, our economies and our market to some of the world’s top business leaders,” he said.

Mr Key said he was very grateful for the invitation to be part of the G20 and it will be of economic significance to his country.

“It’s a great sign of the friendship and the family existing between New Zealand and Australia,” Mr Key said.