For a while this week, it looked as though the unthinkable had happened: Jacinda Ardern had been knocked out of the headlines.

National leaders, new and old, Simon Bridges and Bill English, been dominating the political this week.

Australia changed that. It's back to situation normal.

She is back in the driver's set making headlines in both New Zealand and Australia - even if it from the unforgiving Daily Telegraph telling her Australia doesn't want New Zealand's '"Arderned criminals."


It has been Ardern's first big bilateral visit our only ally since becoming Prime Minister.

She arrived with a lot of baggage literally in the Air Force Boeing: eight other ministers, the best of the public service mandarins and advisers, a high-powered business delegation, journalists and partner Clarke Gayford.

It is the first overseas trip he has accompanied her which was obvious enough when he stopped to talk for five minutes to the protocol officer at the foot of the steps from the plane but the motorcade waited.

Once Ardern found out that Malcolm Turnbull and his wife, former Sydney Lord Mayor Lucy Turnbull, wanted to host dinner at their place, there was no question Gayford was going too.

In the world of foreign affairs, where policies, posturing and positioning take up a lot of time and energy, a meal at the place someone calls home is a powerful and special gesture.

Gifts were exchanged: Malcolm and Lucy got a pair each of "All Bird sneakers" - comfortable New Zealand shoes made of Merino wool - Clarke received a book on fishing, she got a silk scarf and the baby-to-come was given a little pair of Australian-made leather boots.

The Ardern-Turnbull relationship will never be as special as the Turnbull Key bromance.

The bros' last encounter in Sydney as prime ministers was dubbed "pyjama diplomacy" after the Keys stayed the weekend with the Turnbull's.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets Australian Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove at Admiralty House in Sydney. Photo / AP
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets Australian Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove at Admiralty House in Sydney. Photo / AP

Ardern's demeanour has been less about mateship and back-slapping and more as a participant in a family group conference in which some problems need to be ironed out.

Turnbull to his credit has shown not a hint of the Charles Wooley approach to the young Prime Minister - no gushing, no patronising tones, not a mention of the pregnancy, and he got her name right unlike those who continually call her 'Jacinta' or 'Jessica.'

He did make one error though - in answering a question about nuclear proliferation, he suggested that New Zealand, like Australia, was an ally of the United States and a member of Anzus.

The press conference after their talks was held in the glorious gardens of Kirribilli House, under the shade of a Moreton Bay fig and what sounded like close relative of a kookaburra.

The banter between Turnbull and ZB's Barry Soper over Kiwi criminals was interrupted by the chants a boatload of sight seers on the harbour who must have had no idea what was going on the cliff above them.

Ardern was not only business-like, her focus for the trip was business and improving the ease with which small and medium business can do business across the Tasman.


It is an area she knows well from her work in Britain under a policy unit of Tony Blair's Government and as small business spokeswoman for Labour in Opposition.

It is just as well the trip had a business focus. As the party that railed against deportations and detentions in Opposition, Ardern knows that Labour is not going to get any fast wins on that score in Government.

Her positioning on the contentious issues, as well as her sudden elevation as Prime Minister - and pregnant to boot - has made her the object of fascination in Australia.

The latest Australian Women's Weekly features a long piece about her and a fashion shoot to match Vogue's.

Before she left Sydney last night, she conducted a range of interviews with Australian media including pre-records for breakfast shows and Australia's The Project.

Back in the headlines again.