You are Prime Minister and you like to spend most of your time overseas. Not a problem normally because your hard working and conscientious deputy Dr Cullen is rather good at filling in for you.
However the Australians, and NZ business leaders, would like Dr Cullen to attend a critically important meeting of the Australia NZ Leadership Forum. This is as high level as it gets, where bi-partisan talks about moves to a common market take place. Opposition Leaders Beazley and Brash are attending also.
The trouble is, having Dr Cullen away overseas at the same time as the PM, means leaving Jim Anderton as Acting PM. A dilemma.
So rather than have Helen miss photo opportunities in Berlin, or risk Jim Anderton nationalising supermarkets while he has the keys to the house, the Leadership Forum has no-one of significance attend from the NZ Government (foreign ministers can do foreign policy but not economic policy which this is primarily about) – a damn shame as the single market issue is one of vital importance to NZ and we need to be pro-active not reactive in this area.