The Prime Minister is the country's highest profile essential worker, but when it comes to crossing the boundary she has set up around Auckland she is damned if she does, damned if she doesn't.
It has now been 10 weeks since Prime Minister Jacinda was last in Auckland.
Ardern flew back to Wellington on the day the first case of the current outbreak was found, slapped Auckland into lockdown and left it there.
She has not been back since and there are now calls for her to do so to talk to those struggling in lockdown and the businesses hoping like hell they can survive through it.
There are also now reports Ardern is still considering going ahead with a trip to Europe in the next month to bolster stalled free trade talks. Ardern said on Tuesday that was yet to be confirmed and would depend what was happening domestically.
No matter how worthy a trade mission to Europe might be, it would be very hard to justify going to Europe and through MIQ afterward, but not Auckland - she would be portrayed as akin to Australian PM Scott Morrison holidaying during catastrophic bush fires.
Asked why she had not been, Ardern said she was hamstrung by the rules set by Speaker Trevor Mallard who has set up his own MIQ (Mallard Isolation and Quarantine) system.
Mallard is requiring any politicians or Parliamentary–based staff from a level 3 area to do five days of isolation in Wellington and get two negative tests before they are allowed back into Parliament.
National Party leader Judith Collins has been to Auckland. She did the five days isolation required before returning. But it is a different matter for the PM.
It would mean the PM had to sit in Premier House for five days before returning to Parliament. That would be inconvenient at best and unworkable if there was a major development or a crisis on another front.
It is obvious why her absence has antagonised some in Auckland. For a start, it makes her assurances that she understands and sympathises with what Aucklanders are going through sound hollow.
There are valid reasons for the PM to go to Auckland. She is making decisions which affect the lives of those in Auckland in many ways. It is not simply a question of weighing up the health advice.
There are also human impacts.
Seeing and hearing directly from Aucklanders about the impact of those decisions is a critical part of the process.
Ardern has argued all the talking can be done either virtually or by her ministers who are in lockdown in Auckland.
However, Mallard's edict is not the only reason the PM has not travelled to Auckland although it is a convenient excuse.
She would inevitably face criticism for it. Not all essential workers are created equal, and when it comes to crossing Auckland's boundaries some are more essential than others.
Health workers and those working on food supply chains are essential. Politicians are not - even the Prime Minister.
She would risk being accused of flitting in and out for photo ops, while others who believed they had valid grounds to cross the borders could not do so. She made the rules. She should adhere to the spirit of them.
Then there is the worst-case scenario: Prime Minister, Super Spreader.
The PM also travels elsewhere – of late, it has been to areas with low vaccination rates to try to gee things along.
If she was to get Covid-19 on a trip to Auckland, she risks infecting others even though she is fully vaccinated.
Ardern's no-show is contrary to the usual rules which apply in crises. When it comes to natural disasters or human-wrought crises, the Prime Minister of the day has always fronted up to show solace, or support, or to see for themselves what is needed.
The difference is that those disasters have not involved a risk of spreading the disaster when they leave again.
Yes, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stayed in London during the Blitz, to go through what their people were going through.
But there was no Zoom back then.