PM racking up air points on trade, security trips

By Stefan Dimitrof

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has a jam-packed travel schedule this year, as part of the government's post-coronavirus reconnection strategy,

Despite her recent trips to the United States and Australia, she's now heading back to the northern hemisphere for the NATO leaders summit in Madrid where the war in Ukraine will be on the agenda.

This morning the prime minister talked to teaomā about New Zealand’s official position on the Ukraine war.

Ardern said New Zealand’s position on the Ukrainian war was consistent in recognising that the war is wrong.

“It’s having a massive global impact, it contributing to food shortages and energy price rises, not to mention the instability that it has caused in the region and the world.”

New Zealand has been a Nato partner for the past 10 years and sides with the alliance’s position to end the war.

North, then Pacific

Ardern has a full travel schedule ahead of her first meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnston over the UK-New Zealand free trade agreement.

“Our job is to open the door and remove some of that friction but the next step is having our exporters walk through. That means getting entry into the market, building a consumer base and a brand present.”

With the prime minister jetsetting across the world, with another meeting with the Australian PM Anthony Albanese before heading to Suva in Fiji for the Pacific Islands Forum, she agrees “these are punishing schedules”.

“We are so focused on trying to maximise the time and only go as long as needed to do the business and, in some cases, you feel you have been travelling longer than you have been on the ground.

"The world is in a hurry [for countries] to reconnect with each other."

On Matariki, Ardern said she was going to use the opportunity to celebrate the new public holiday with a meal and use the time to reflect and to talk about “aspirations and hopes for the future and where we reconnect”.