Duncan Garner calls out PM’s separate Nauru flight

The AM Show 04/09/2018

The AM Show host Duncan Garner has called out the Prime Minister for attending the Pacific Islands Forum separately.

Jacinda Ardern will attend this week's Pacific Islands Forum but will not go for the full length of time because Neve is too young to get all the vaccinations she would need to enter the island.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force VIP jet will fly back from Nauru, after already dropping off a contingent, to pick Ms Ardern up on Wednesday at a cost of about $100,000 to the taxpayer.

However Finance Minister Grant Robertson says the money for the flights had already been allocated.

"We allocate that money each year, so actually there is no additional money at all being spent there, it's simply making use of that 757."

Ms Ardern will miss the opening ceremony and only attend the leaders' meeting. This means she will only be away from Neve for around 36 hours.

However, Garner says she shouldn't have gone at all.

"I'm loathe to criticise a parent for wanting to be with their newborn. Been there, done that, understand it totally. But just pull out of the meeting."

He says she should have instead let Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters go by himself.

"He's been going to these meetings since the turn of the century. He's more than capable of holding court with all the local leaders over a drink at happy hour. He can then come back and brief you, really simple. And better for the environment as well, not two flights."

Garner says what really gets to him about this plan is last week's decision not to aid gravely ill Kiwi Abby Hartley's flight back from Bali.

"She's [Hartley] really sick. 'No', Jacinda Ardern said. 'That would set a costly precedent'. Now I criticised the Prime Minister for that, I said rules and precedents are broken and set all the time. Wasn't I right Prime Minister?"

However, The AM Show sports presenter Mark Richardson said he really didn't care about the extra flight.

"It is what it is. This is what happens to accommodate her extra needs at this point in time. That's just how it is."

The AM Show news presenter Nadine Higgins said these compromises won't last forever.

"That child is currently breastfeeding but she won't be for that long, so these extra things that need to happen just at the minute won't last for long. I just don't think it's something we need to tie ourselves in knots over.

"What are we going to do: only have people standing for Prime Minister if they're post-menopausal or male?"

At this moment, Richardson chimed in: "That sounds good."

Watch the full commentary above.

The AM Show with Duncan Garner, Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson, weekdays 6-9am on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.

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