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Barry Soper: Why does PM want to keep her holiday a secret?

Author
Barry Soper,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 10 July 2019, 9:16AM
Jacinda Ardern, Clarke Gayford and baby Neve at the airport in Rarotonga. Photo / Cook Islands News
Jacinda Ardern, Clarke Gayford and baby Neve at the airport in Rarotonga. Photo / Cook Islands News

Under normal circumstances where the Prime Minister goes on holiday should be of little interest to anyone, although our leaders have in the past been quite open about where they're off to.

Helen Clark was forever off to the Andes to climb some mountain or other, or scaling the Southern Alps with her hubby Peter Davis.

John Key made no secret of his many jaunts to his holiday house in Hawaii when he was leading the country and few raised an eyebrow.

Jacinda Ardern climbed on a plane at the beginning of this week but no one was saying where this Prime Minister, who promised to be the most transparent in the history of the world (or maybe that was Donald Trump), was going.

The only thing we were told was that Winston Peters was the acting Prime Minister and even he claims he didn't know where she was off to. Inquiries to the Prime Minister's office were met with a "we're not saying where she's going".

And why not? Well last Easter Ardern got engaged to her partner Clarke Gayford and at some stage, presumably, a wedding will occur. Why not offshore, away from the prying eyes of the media, unless they're women's magazines which she seems to enjoy getting a splash in?

That's why there's a heightened interest as to where she's off to.

While the ninth floor of the Beehive remained mum to the media here, Ardern was appearing on the front page of the Cook Islands News being snapped arriving in Rarotonga with fiance Gayford and baby Neve who was photographed in the arms of that country's Prime Minister's wife.

From the Cooks' capital she flew the best part of an hour to what's been described as the jewel in the Pacific, the island of Aitutaki which means a little paradise.

Ironically it was the place the late David Lange used to brag about. He said it was the most picturesque place on the globe, and would go there whenever an opportunity presented itself.

In many ways Lange and Ardern are quite similar characters, although the current incumbent is much more popular with her colleagues. But they're both populists with an enthusiastic following, even if Lange was much more humorous and quick witted.

And they clearly have Aitutaki in common, even if Ardern likes to keep it a secret.

In fairness Lange wasn't without his own travel secrets, on several occasions going AWOL when he was in the United States. With his Government's anti-nuclear stance, Lange never got an invitation to the White House and after much investigation it was discovered he preferred the company of Mickey Mouse at Disneyland.

 

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