Rattling around in the sprawling Premier House in Wellington must at times feel a bit over the top for Jacinda Ardern.

But during the early hours of tomorrow morning when she climbs on board the air force's 757 VIP jet, capable of carrying up to 300 passengers, she'll feel a bit like Howard Hughes on the Spruce Goose.

Ardern will be the only passenger on board, well there'll be the odd hanger-on accompanying her, but they're bound to have a comfy bed made up for her as she jets into one of the world's tiniest island states of Nauru for the Pacific Islands Forum.


There to meet her will be her Foreign Minister Winston Peters who will have done all the leg work, attending the opening ceremony last night and the formal dialogue session today.

Ardern's joining them late because her 11-week-old baby is too young to have all the inoculations required of those landing in Nauru. She tells us she was in angst over the decision to even attend the forum and asked those around her what the cost would be of flying under separate cover. She was told, she says, it wouldn't be too much so decided to go even though she didn't get a formal breakdown of the expense.

Yeah well the cost for the round trip has been officially put at just over eighty grand, but when the cost was put to her, she says the plane would be flying the hours, probably on some other mission at some stage in the future anyway. VIP transport had been budgeted for.

That's a bit like the old public service mentality, that if you've got a budget spend it. Although these days with this Government banning bonuses for the frugal bosses, they'll probably again adopt that attitude.

Thing is, the new Aussie PM Scotty Morrison won't be at the Forum and if Ardern decided not to go because of baby Neve, surely the family-focused Pacific leaders, more than any others, would have understood.

Winston Peters is more than capable of stepping into her shoes although on this one his spin was a bit thin. He told the travelling media he'd talked to Ardern and baby Neve wasn't a factor, it was more about her busy diary!

When she does arrive in Nauru, we'll be left in no doubt she's there with no fewer than seven photo ops in her busy diary for her 12 hours of appointments on the ground with little chance, it would seem, for her to see the desperate refugees she's forever talking about.

Ardern did say though that Peters has been doing some work on the ground to see if it can be facilitated.


Now that would be a photo op worth having!