Big overseas trip for Ardern – and for the Government

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has set off on an international trip for a couple of weeks. It began with a visit to the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast yesterday. She then goes to Europe to meet with the leaders of Germany and France, and then on to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London.

She is also scheduled to visit the Queen – that’s right up Ardern’s celebrity PR style alley.

Trade will be high on Ardern’s political agenda.

It will be interesting to see how things play out here in her absence, given the difficult last month for the Government.

Craig McCulloch (RNZ): CHOGM great chance for PM to be gone

The trip comes at a pivotal time in international relations – roughly one year ahead of the United Kingdom’s final departure from the European Union. Much of the focus then will be on trade.

New Zealand is ready to jump into bed with the EU as soon as the member states hit the green-light on negotiations.

Officials here hope that could come in the next few months and former Trade Minister Todd McClay understands a date is set for late May.

As for the UK, it’s already signalled New Zealand will be one of the first cabs off the rank for a trade agreement.

But official negotiations can’t Bregin till Britain formally Brexits (sorry) in March next year.

At that point, the UK will go into a 21-month transition phase during which it can finally start negotiating deals.

CHOGM has always been regarded as one of the less-important global events – a bi-annual gab-fest between former British colonies.

…it’s the first since the Brexit vote and the first in London in more than three decades.

Leaders from all but two of the 53 Commonwealth countries are to attend. In previous years, as many as half didn’t turn up.

CHOGM is unlikely to hit many headlines.

The photo opportunities too will be priceless for the Prime Minister. Her media team will be hanging out for that shot of her alongside the similarly-youthful Emmanuel Macron. And don’t forget the Queen. Never forget the Queen.

The media are unlikely to let anyone forget the Queen, who is old enough to be Ardern’s grandmother. Irrelevant pap is likely to get the most attention.

Both Ms Ardern and Foreign Minister Winston Peters will use the opportunity to do the rounds and meet some new faces.

With both Ardern and Peters overseas (a problem when you have the deputy PM as Foreign Minister) who will be fronting up for the Government here?

Labours deputy leader Kelvin Davis? he has been virtually anonymous since performing poorly after his sudden promotion during the election campaign last year.

He may have done some homework since and be able to answer the occasional question. It will be interesting to see how he shapes up. he may get to be acting PM a bit over the next few months with Ardern out of action for a few weeks and Peters in charge but still with international duties.

32 Comments

  1. robertguyton

     /  April 15, 2018

    (From Pete’s archives)
    “John Key is also scheduled to visit the Queen – that’s right up Key’s celebrity PR style alley”.

    • artcroft

       /  April 15, 2018

      Very true, but Key had more strings to his bow than just mere celebrity. Competence was his first attribute.

      • robertguyton

         /  April 15, 2018

        Hairdresser? Great at playing “Memory”? Modelling sports-wear? Talking out of both corners of his mouth? The man fair oozed talent!

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  April 15, 2018

          He was clever enough to go from a state house to a multi-million dollar one by his own efforts, be an MP and then a PM…what talent do you have, apart from trolling ?

          • robertguyton

             /  April 15, 2018

            So, Jacinda’s clever too, Kitty – she’s PM, was and MP and will be making a tidy income now – so young! Clever! Yes?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  April 15, 2018

              Not as clever as John Key, but few people are. It’s a meaningless comparison. He was a very rich man before he went into politics. The old saying about how being an MP means a pay drop for National MPs and a pay rise for Labour ones still has some truth in it. The MPs whom I have known personally earned less as MPs than they did before, with one exception.

            • phantom snowflake

               /  April 15, 2018

              “…one exception.” The spirits are telling me… that’s David Seymour!

          • lurcher1948

             /  April 15, 2018

            That isn’t any form of a debate Kitty, money doesn’t make you a great person, POTUS #45 regularly bankrupted to avoid responsibilities,remember the rich man and a needle,

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  April 15, 2018

              I didn’t say that it did, only that John Key is a very clever man. People don’t make that sort of money themselves if they are stupid.

              At no point did I say that money alone made someone a great person. I was referring to one person.

            • robertguyton

               /  April 15, 2018

              Donald Trump is, by Kitty’s definition, a very clever man.

      • lurcher1948

         /  April 15, 2018

        DAMN the queen has short hair,

  2. robertguyton

     /  April 15, 2018

    “Irrelevant pap is likely to get the most attention.”
    A blast from the past!

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  April 15, 2018

      You’d know all about irrelevant pap.

      • robertguyton

         /  April 15, 2018

        I see it all around me, Kitty – pabulum; great gobs of it!

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  April 15, 2018

    Expect silent world-wide eye-rolling at Jacinda’s platitudes and some patronising concern for her pregnancy.

    • robertguyton

       /  April 15, 2018

      From you, Alan? We expect nothing else. The world outside of your bed-sit, whatever, will fawn over her and love every moment in her presence.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  April 15, 2018

        Lol. Where is Berlusconi when you need him?

  4. David

     /  April 15, 2018

    Its a shame for Ardern but she will be viewed through the prism of her disappointing approach to Russia which while not her fault people in Europe take very very seriously (ridiculously so in my view), given her previous role as president of the socialist thing wont help either.
    The trip comes at a difficult time for her where I imagine she is more focused on her impending delivery then waffling politicians. Macron could give some insight into being hugely popular and improbable winner who,s popularity has plummeted hugely in a very short space of time.

    • robertguyton

       /  April 15, 2018

      She’ll be adored where Key was lampooned; loved on the world stage; the Queen especially, will glow with pleasure in Jacinda’s company – well, who wouldn’t (only the shrewish and bitter).

      • Gezza

         /  April 15, 2018

        Well, we’ll see. She was sweetly girlish & all excited talking about whoever it was in the sports area she was meeting and congratulating last night. At least she wasn’t hanging off them like a hemarrhoid at every opportunity like John Key was with poor Richie.

        • robertguyton

           /  April 15, 2018

          Piling into Key, Gezza – love it!
          I wonder if Jacinda’s mastered the three-way hand-shake yet???
          It can’t be easy…

          • Gezza

             /  April 15, 2018

            I’m not tribally affiliated politically Robert. I just load and fire at any of the bastards when they’ve made themselves a good target.

            • robertguyton

               /  April 15, 2018

              Free of all ties; a fortunate man you are, Gezza! Okay then…Russel-one-l-Norman had a whiny voice! How’s that?

            • Gezza

               /  April 15, 2018

              “Give me back my flag. My waving it is the only thing that will make China leave Tibet.”

            • I have a low tolerance level for ongoing bickering.

            • Gezza

               /  April 15, 2018

              It’s certainly not a failing. Noted.

            • robertguyton

               /  April 15, 2018

              [Deleted – if you keep trying to dick around like this I may just start binning comments. PG]

  5. alloytoo

     /  April 15, 2018

    It’d going to be cringeworthy at home and abroad.