Ardern’s separate flight to Nauru

An Air Force Boeing 757 has dropped Winston Peters off at the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru, is flying back to new Zealand and returning with Jacinda Ardern for a one day visit.

It has been reported that the reason Ardern couldn’t go with Peters was so she would not be away from her baby too long – Neve was not able to travel with her because she is too young for the necessary vaccinations.

Stuff: Jacinda Ardern defends travelling separately to Nauru for Pacific Islands Forum

The main New Zealand delegation, including Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and a media contingent, arrived in Nauru for the forum on Monday.

Ardern will be travelling to the Micronesia island on Wednesday in the same Air Force plane, which will have to return to New Zealand to pick her up.

The prime minister could not go for the longer period as her 11-week-old daughter, Neve, is too young to be given the appropriate vaccinations for the trip and, thus, could not travel with her.

Ardern said she had weighed up whether or not to go and had asked about how much extra it might cost. She was told the extra cost would not be exorbitant and the plane could not stay on Nauru anyway, as there was not enough room on the runway to store it.

Weighing up the logistics around travel I asked officials to check what the extra costs I would be imposing on the crown would be if I were to travel separately,” Ardern said.

“They assured me that because of the 757 not being able to remain on Nauru anyway, but having to leave the island so other planes could come in and depart – and also the fact that if it wasn’t flying there it would be taking up an hour somewhere else anyway, then on balance I decided it was worth me travelling.”

She made the comments after Newstalk ZB political editor Barry Soper estimated on Monday morning the extra fuel costs would be about $50,000.

There have been various claims of cost, including $80,000 and $100,000.

Ardern said the plane’s flying hours were budgeted for anyway and would likely be flown for “training hours” if not used for the five-and-a-half-hour trip back to New Zealand.

The original plan was to send the plane to the Marshall Islands an hour’s flight away to get it off Nauru.

The actual additional costs are debatable.

There will no doubt be further added costs catering for Ardern’s baby.

But there will be decisions made all the time that impact on costs like this. The cost of governing and the cost of Foreign Affairs travel are substantial.

This puts some perspective on the recent news of Simon Bridges travel expenses for three months, quoted at over $100,000 but he would have normally been expected to incur at least half of this without raising eyebrows or opponent’s hackles and heckles.

This travel cost to Nauru is small change compared to overall costs in conducting foreign affairs in the Pacific – see Foreign Affairs funding boosted by $1b with no clear plan.

It is also likely that the foreign travel budget for Ardern will be lower for a while than if she had not have her baby.

Peters’ foreign travel costs, usually substantial for a Minister of Foreign Affairs, will have been much lower for the eight weeks he was acting Prime Minister while Ardern was on maternity leave.

So the overall cost of our Prime Minister having and caring for a baby may have little if any effect on overall Government expenses.

Quibbling over one-off expenses seems pointless and perhaps petty.

If Ardern and her Government turn out to have much higher expenses per year and over their three year term then there may be grounds for grizzling, but the Nauru flight on it’s own does not seem to be a big deal to me.

 

Leave a comment

65 Comments

  1. David

     /  September 4, 2018

    Politics is perception and I hate to quote it but explaining is losing.
    The public will see 80k being spent to attend an unimportant talkfest as an unnecessary extra cost after we had no PM for 6 weeks, have lost another Minister for 6 weeks and now the Education Minister because his girlfriend is having a baby all while governing the country has been farmed out to working groups.
    The Aussie PM isnt bothering attending and Peters lied and said it was because Arderns diary was full.
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12118650

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  September 4, 2018

      Perception is subjective…reality objective. That extra money taxpayers fork out for a vacillating PM is another body shot our punch drunk PM doesn’t realise she’s taken.

      Reply
    • Ray

       /  September 4, 2018

      Well worth a snigger watching Lefty/Greens on Twitter who were really down on Bridges spending money speaking to the electorate, now saying $100,000 is chicken feed for the so important trip up to Nauru.
      To be honest you could make a valid argument that both are a waste of money but in the real world that is the cost of government and democracy.

      Though I do wonder why the plane just can’t wait.

      Reply
  2. David

     /  September 4, 2018

    And the carbon footprint of 10 hours of flying a 757 for one person ! climate change obviously isnt our generations nuclear moment.

    Reply
    • artcroft

       /  September 4, 2018

      It never was. After she threw Taranaki under the bus, she was straight on to the big bad plane and off to boast in Europe.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  September 4, 2018

        I can see no justification for the rest of us paying $80,000+ because she doesn’t want to leave the baby for a few days.

        She’s supposed to be the PM, and this has responsibilities as well as privileges,.

        This is an abuse of power.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  September 4, 2018

          The conference goes for four days. Can’t the father mind the baby for four days ? To spend this amount of money so that she doesn’t have to be away for four days is grossly unreasonable.

          A short time ago, Miss Ardern was making MPs travel in vans to keep costs and fuel down. This is utter hypocrisy. She needs to sort out her priorities.

          Reply
        • robertguyton

           /  September 4, 2018

          Over-egging can ruin an otherwise good pud.

          Reply
  3. artcroft

     /  September 4, 2018

    Clearly Peters wasn’t about to share his plane with anyone, and told Ardern to make her own way there.

    Reply
  4. robertguyton

     /  September 4, 2018

    My prediction was correct. Good post though, Pete; your comments are fair. I made a prediction about the likely responders too and the day’s just begun 🙂

    Reply
  5. High Flying Duck

     /  September 4, 2018

    The $80,000 figure is just the fuel cost. I assume that is on the basis the staff and plane are paid for anyway and additional maintenance would be minimal for that flight alone.
    Of course, that calculation is very different to that used for Simon Bridges expenses, which included many fixed costs and a high cost margin between Government departments.
    But on the assumption the plane and/or pilot needed the flight hours anyway, I’m not sure the cost is a big issue. As David said, the optics are terrible. But the reality is that it isn’t a big deal in the scheme of things.
    What could be interesting is how tolerant the public are if the PM’s motherhood leads to regular increased costs on the taxpayer that impact on the role.

    Reply
    • robertguyton

       /  September 4, 2018

      The public will forgive instantly, ’cause Neve is so cute and Jacinda’s a lovely mum.
      Suck it up, misogamists.

      Reply
      • David

         /  September 4, 2018

        What about the planet Robert, justify the environmental damage or are you just a lefty pretending to love the planet.

        Reply
        • robertguyton

           /  September 4, 2018

          Re-posted here for your convenience, David. Eagerly anticipating your response.
          David. Your question is: “what about the carbon footprint…etc.”
          Prime Ministers necessarily have a large carbon footprint – whaddaryagonnado? Stop the leaders of the countries of the world travelling to meetings outside of their countries? Make them send their deputies and stay at home themselves, skyping? My answer is; it’s an issue de minimus. Now, David: answer my questions (there are 3 of them).

          Reply
          • robertguyton

             /  September 4, 2018

            Anyone heard from…David?

            Reply
          • David

             /  September 4, 2018

            Accept leaders have to travel, sending their deputies instead is an illogical argument as the travel is still being undertaken.
            Ardern stated climate change is her generations nuclear moment so she states how important it is to her why isnt she willing to pause breast feeding for a few days for the planet. She took six weeks off governing NZ so we can quite happily go about our business without her why are the islands more important than NZ.
            What makes this talkfest more important than the planet, everyone understands if she cant make it so there must be some photo op she wants.

            Reply
            • robertguyton

               /  September 4, 2018

              “Accept leaders have to travel”
              Case closed.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  September 4, 2018

              People accept that leaders have to travel, but not that the people of NZ should pay twice for this so that the PM won’t miss her baby when she has to be away from it for four days.

              It’s misuse of public money.

              Which is her priority ? Being a mother or a PM ?

              We are under no obligation to spend this sort of money because she doesn’t want to be away from the baby for a few days.

            • David

               /  September 4, 2018

              Robert seeing as you wont give a straight answer we can take it that you care more about going in to bat for your team than the planet, I have no problem with that but its good to have confirmed that Greenery comes second to politics with you.
              If this was Key chartering a plane you would have been all over it.

            • robertguyton

               /  September 4, 2018

              David; you couldn’t understand my straight answer? No worries but your attempted diminishment/take down, “Greenery comes second to politics with you” is childish and feeble. That said, if Key was chartering a plane, I’d think and act differently but from memory, Key wasn’t breast-feeding… or was he????. It’s the little things, David, that catch you out.

      • Dave K

         /  September 4, 2018

        Ahh…misogamists. I’m assuming that refers to folks sqewing the odds with fermented soyabeans and koji? Been called worse….

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  September 4, 2018

          A misogamist is a marriage-hater. Your confirmed bachelor friend — who swears he’ll never get married — might just like his independence, or he might be a misogamist.

          Labour has a few of them. Jacinda’s one, & so was Helen – but Anderton bullied her into making an honest man of Peter.

          Reply
          • robertguyton

             /  September 4, 2018

            True – mysogynist – it’s the gyn-factor – the spell-check spins wildly when I’m posting here – pays to check before “post comment”ing.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  September 4, 2018

              Spellcheck is a confounded nuisance. I turned mine off as soon as I could.

        • Dave K

           /  September 4, 2018

          apoligies for orthography….was a bit lame and somewhat ultracrepidarian of me

          ……never had a problem with gin though!!

          Reply
          • robertguyton

             /  September 4, 2018

            I thought “sqewing” was the result of being ginned to the brim!
            My apologies!

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  September 4, 2018

              No, it’s a small and rare bird with a distinctive pattern on its wings that looks like ‘s q e’.

            • robertguyton

               /  September 4, 2018

              Like the spur-wing, I know it! The wry-beak’s a curious one, as is the spoonbill.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  September 4, 2018

              Then there are stickybeaks and powerbills; they are less attractive. Godwits are sweet, but halfwits are a bit dreary.

            • robertguyton

               /  September 5, 2018

              You’ve eaten a Godwit ??
              Is that … done?

  6. Blazer

     /  September 4, 2018

    lest we forget ,how mutch ‘Ratman’ cost the hardworking NZ taxpayer for=0!

    ‘Mr Groser was on a shortlist of five for the job of director-general but failed to get enough support from the WTO’s 159 member countries in the second round of voting.

    Herminio Blanco (Mexico) and Roberto Azevedo (Brazil), are through to the final round of competition to succeed Pascal Lamy on 1 September.

    Mr Groser spent nearly $250,000 on international travel in the first three months of this year.

    New Zealand First MP Andrew Williams says it was a waste of taxpayers’ money and the minister “should do the honourable thing and admit the fact that he wasn’t up to the job, he couldn’t get the job”.

    Mr Williams says, given that Mr Groser gets a minister’s salary as well, he should refund a “big chunk” of his travel costs.’

    just travel mind you…what a National gravy train !

    Reply
  7. Gezza

     /  September 4, 2018

    Hang on I haven’t had a look at this one yet.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  September 4, 2018

      Hurry up !!!

      Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  September 4, 2018

          Get a bloody MOVE ON !!!

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  September 4, 2018

            Pretty much all been said I think. As PG’s post points out, all things considered, it’s not as bad as it looks – but, imo, to ordinary folk not on very comfortable salaries with hordes of servants at their beck and call, facing increasing costs and petrol levies, it IS a bad look.

            A competent Opposition should be able to exploit this. However …

            Reply
            • robertguyton

               /  September 4, 2018

              Sadly, Simon’s got recent form. Plus, he’s busy tracking down his leaker.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  September 4, 2018

              I think that it is a very bad look after all the talk about carbon emissions and self-congratulation on over-riding the SSC and other things.

              It is rank hypocrisy and a misuse of OUR money. We, as taxpayers, are having our money used because someone who knew that being PM meant travel now doesn’t want to leave her baby for a few days. Imagine the hoohah if a male PM did this. It’s an abuse of power and wrongful use of taxpayer’s money, Is this going to happen every time she has to attend an overseas conference ?

            • Gezza

               /  September 4, 2018

              To be fair, if one is going to be hypocritical – one may as well go for rank hypocrisy & not settle for less.

            • robertguyton

               /  September 4, 2018

              Jacinda (bless her heart) pays tax, so it’s HER money also; fair’s fair. So does Neve’s father, so they’re paying DOUBLE! Maybe we should give a refund…

            • Gezza

               /  September 4, 2018

              Well, so do I – but no bastard was offering me a free Air Force flight up to Russell & back last November.

            • robertguyton

               /  September 4, 2018

              If I’d known…

            • Gezza

               /  September 4, 2018

              Well, I wouldn’t mind going back up – apparently I’m the only one who’s caught anything of that fishing rock.

            • Gezza

               /  September 4, 2018

              *off

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  September 4, 2018

              SB’s ‘form’ was over a long period of time, and JA’s was almost as high, there was very little difference.

              If he insisted upon a special plane so that he wouldn’t have to leave his own newborn, he would rightly be vilified for this extravagance. His new baby is about the same age as JA’s.

            • robertguyton

               /  September 4, 2018

              I’ll look into it, Gezza…where is that rock…exactly…

            • robertguyton

               /  September 4, 2018

              Kitty, as I assumed with Key, Bridges isn’t breast-feeding, is he???

            • Gezza

               /  September 4, 2018

              @ robert – at Al’s Cabin’s up North

            • Gezza

               /  September 4, 2018

              (just ignore that apostrophe in Cabins – it snuck in when my back was turned – serves me right for typing behind my back.)

            • Gezza

               /  September 4, 2018
            • Gezza

               /  September 4, 2018

              Just be warned … I show a bit of leg in there …

            • robertguyton

               /  September 4, 2018

              Lovely! I need to be nicer to Al.

            • robertguyton

               /  September 4, 2018

              And I’ll show that to Pucky: he might be able to help with flights.

            • Gezza

               /  September 4, 2018

              Lovely! I need to be nicer to Al.

              Not necessarily. Me & Possum weren’t especially.
              Pay to be nice to his Mrs though.

            • Gezza

               /  September 4, 2018

              I’m kidding. Al & I disagree politically, but he was a brilliant host and his cabins and their location are gorgeous. I had the best holiday ever there.

  8. Kitty Catkin

     /  September 4, 2018

    The PM is paid to be the PM, not to stop being it while she’s breastfeeding. The baby must be on a bottle some of the time; it can be on it while she’s away.

    If she can’t fulfil her obligations as PM, she ought to step down. Imagine a major crisis; no PM, because she doesn’t want to leave the baby. She’s taking money for work that she’s not doing.

    Reply
  9. Blazer

     /  September 4, 2018

    $80 K for NZ’s head of state is peanuts…cop this…

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12119044

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  September 4, 2018

      Fault for that expenditure seems to lie with the complainant.

      “Justice Brewer said, in most respects, Opai was a model employee but her sense of responsibility caused friction with other staff, which was a concern for the station’s management.

      She has also accused several senior police officers of being “members of an old boys’ club”, misleading the courts and engaging in retaliatory conduct.

      Opai began to see malice behind any of Culpan’s actions, the judge said.

      “I fear Ms Opai is now obsessed with the way she perceives she was treated as an employee,” he said”

      After the judge’s ruling, Opai’s lawyer Neville Woods told the Herald his client was disappointed with the result and was considering an appeal.

      Hopefully she’ll recompense the police for their costs in the end.

      Reply
  10. Vman

     /  September 7, 2018

    Having a baby and the timing of having a baby are all lifestyle choices. It is not 1920. All of these decisions are optional conscious decisions that a woman makes for her own lifestyle reasons.
    It is not the taxpayers job to pay for other people’s lifestyle choices.

    Apart from that it is an extraordinary lack of judgement. The PM of Australia didn’t attend for far more minor reasons than needing to breastfeed a baby.
    Peters is the Foreign Minister and Deputy PM. He has plenty of mana in the Pacific. There was no special reason for the NZ PM to attend.

    This flight could have been used to rescue a New Zealand woman in a coma from Bali. Or a host of other far more important things than yet another talk fest and photo op for Adern. All while the government outsources decision making, policy making and any decision to over 100 talk fest groups.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  September 7, 2018

      ‘It is not the taxpayers job to pay for other people’s lifestyle choices.’…why does it pay for…retirees then?

      Reply
  1. Ardern’s separate flight to Nauru — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s