"Couldn't one of the staffers have done a bit of camerawork?"

That was one of many questions posed by Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking this morning as he spoke to the Prime Minister on Mike Hosking Breakfast.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hired advertising agency Augusto to photograph and film her New York trip.

In the past, New Zealand Prime Ministers have used an office staffer to take photos while abroad.


"It was cheaper and made more sense to have someone on the ground," Ardern told Hosking.

"We have a New Zealand company who are just starting up there who could do it for us."

The footage and photos - including for some events to which media had no access - were made available to the media to use, including the Herald.

Hosking queried the price tag of bringing the New York outfit on board but Ardern said her expectation that it be the cheaper choice had been communicated to her staff.

"I wanted it to be cheaper than taking someone over. I haven't seen any final prices," Ardern said.

Hosking also questioned if Augusto had made a donation to the Labour Party, saying it had been claimed to be a figure of $18,000.

"I don't believe so," Ardern said.

"We have to record if anyone ever does work during a campaign period that is below market rate, so if anyone does work that is in kind or a bit discounted it has to be recorded."


That might be what has been recorded with that particular company, Ardern said.

"I believe that might have been because they performed a job at a discounted rate.

"But again I am making guesses because I don't know every single donation that has been made."

Ardern said she ensured her delegation was on par with what other Prime Ministers had done previously.

"My understanding is that this has been done before."

Ardern also put a damper on talk of NZ First's bid to install legislation that would force migrants and refugees to agree to New Zealand values.

"Every party is able to put up their own member's bill," Ardern said.

"This has been put up as a party policy for NZ First, we will not adopt it as a Government policy."

Yesterday, the Herald reported Opposition Leader Simon Bridges rubbished the proposed bill as "headline-grabbing nonsense".

Both the Refugee Council of New Zealand and the Human Rights Commission also opposed the proposed new legislation.

The draft bill drawn up by list MP Clayton Mitchell, Respecting New Zealand Values Bill, was discussed at the NZ First annual conference.

Mitchell said the bill would mean migrants and refugees would need to agree to a declaration to respect New Zealand values, or be sent back to "where they came from".