The PM has always been odd about her holidays. I think she doesn’t like people to know she never ever holidays in NZ so she has a veil of secrecy over where she holidays. This has extended to even her own staff and chief press secretary not knowing where she is with only her chief of staff knowing.
This is highly unusual behaviour. Former PMs always were open about what they did for holidays, not treating it as a state secret. Other countries like UK, US and Australia it is openly known, and of course some like Blair do get criticised that he likes to holiday in Europe, as Clark does. But he doesn’t hide it.
And with the tsunami disatser we learn that Clark was uncontactable for 40 hours. I’ll be blunt and say this is unacceptable, especially in today’s world. What is the tsunami had hit NZ? What if there was a terrorist strike and noone knows where the PM is, and maybe the one person who does has been affected.
It’s not that a PM has to be in NZ at all time, but they need to be contactable, and this is not hard to arrange, even skiing in Europe.
I’m also annoyed with the spin over why and when she decided to return from her holiday. Now I actually don’t believe that it is necessary to cut a holiday short, *as long as one is contactable*, as you can easily make decisions from afar, but she defends the decision by saying that on Thursday morning (30th) the Indonesians thought they had only 10,000 dead.
Well Wikipedia on the 30th had 80,000 confirmed dead in Indonesia. Even on the 29th it was between 32,000 and 45,000 confirmed dead in Indonesia. Did no journalist bother to check this and ask her?
And the Herald helps with the spin by saying “Helen Clark reached a hotel only later that day and afterwards decided to cut short her holiday with husband Peter Davis by eight days. She announced her intention to return on December 31”
Now reading this it looks like she decided to cut short the holiday on the 27th, and only announced it on the 31st. Trust me that the day it was announced it the day it would have been decided. Probably once she heard there was a conference she could attend.