The $80,000 flight

The Herald reports:

Prime Minister has defended having an Air Force Boeing 757 fly back from Nauru after dropping off Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters to collect her and deliver her to the Pacific Islands Forum on the island for one day.

The round trip comes at a cost of $80,000 on fuel alone.

While Peters and a contingent today flew to Nauru, about five-and-a-half hours from New Zealand, Ardern will go on Wednesday for the leaders’ retreat.

The Prime Minister is still breastfeeding her 11-week-old daughter Neve, who does not have immunity to visit an environment such as that on Nauru.

“I spent quite a lot of time deliberating over whether or not I would attend the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru. I analysed all of my options,” Ardern told reporters today.

Ardern made a decision that she would fly to Nauru early on Wednesday, necessitating the return of the 757 to New Zealand to pick her up instead of flying one hour on to the Marshall Islands to await the return flight on Wednesday. …

“The other option was for me not attend at all but, given the importance that we place on the relationships with the Pacific Islands in the reset, that equally didn’t feel like an option.

I think this is reasonable. The Pacific is important to us and having the PM there builds relationships at the top level. With the Australian PM not attending, even more important the NZ PM is there.

$80,000 is a lot of money, but that is part of the cost of governing. Just as it is paying for the Opposition Leader to attend meetings around New Zealand.

This is a good way of looking at it.

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