Jacinda Is on Another Jaunt

Jacinda is off to Tokelau this weekend.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will visit Tokelau this weekend.

It’s the first trip to the territory by a prime minister since Helen Clark in 2004 and comes as part of the government’s Pacific Reset strategy.
Announcing details of the trip on Monday, Ms Ardern acknowledged 15 years was a long time.
“Tokelau’s remoteness and perhaps difficulty in accessing it has meant that it’s not had the attention that it deserves. Particularly as it is at significant risk of devastating impacts linked to climate change.”

Jacinda Ardern said she will visit Tokelau’s three atolls and discuss priorities on climate change, health, education and culture.
She will be there until 1 August.


It sounds like a bit of overkill for a tiny, remote island in the Pacific. It may be a long time since anyone has visited, but surely that is because there is little reason to visit, right?

Well, no. Not so if you are Jacinda Ardern. The following excerpt is from March 2018.

Jacinda Ardern’s father Ross Ardern will step down as the High Commissioner to Niue when his tenure ends in May, and has been posted to Tokelau.
The position in Niue would be taken over by diplomat and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade agriculture development manager Kirk Yates.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said the administrator’s role was to ensure appropriate public services were delivered to New Zealand citizens living in Tokelau, and to help manage the relationship between the two countries.
“Mr Ardern’s experience as a High Commissioner, his extensive understanding of the Pacific, and distinguished career with New Zealand Police make him an ideal candidate for this role and I have no doubt he will make a major contribution to the relationship between New Zealand and Tokelau,” Peters said.


So she is spending 6 days in the Pacific, celebrating her birthday, over the weekend.

So which angle shall we take on this? We could start with the ‘jobs for the boys’ angle, as Ardern Senior was appointed to the role in May last year.

Or we could go with the fact that this time she really is using the RNZAF 757 for what is obviously a personal trip, to get some family time and do very little… which is pretty much all she does anyway.

Can you imagine the howls of rage if John Key had done this? Even if this is a genuine diplomatic trip (which I really doubt) it is all about the look of the thing. She ought to know not to time her trip to coincide with her birthday, which is obviously family time.

But you have to have a competent media to drive that particular point home. And, as our media won’t call her out on this, we will.

Happy birthday, Jacinda. I wish you no ill will personally, but I hope there are not ‘many happy returns’ for you as prime minister. I’d like a prime minister that does some work, for a change.

If we had a decent media and a proper opposition, she would not be getting away with this.

After all, she was holidaying in the Cook Islands only last week. Seriously, how many holidays does this woman need?