Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's charm offensive continues in Sydney today as she delivers a foreign policy speech ahead of a trans-Tasman political summit tomorrow.
Well into her second week of travel outside of New Zealand, Ardern has spent the past few days helping businesses strengthen their relationships with existing and prospective clients and partners in Australia.
A sleep-deprived Ardern has seemingly drawn energy from the enthusiasm of the 31-strong business delegation she's been travelling with, and those they've wine and dined alongside.
The PM has been an excellent ambassador for New Zealand – at least in the eyes of those who share her values. For those who don't, her charisma has likely plastered over differing world views to some extent.
Ardern has been doing what she does best, marketing New Zealand to those offshore.
Speaking at a tourism promotional event in Sydney on Wednesday, she talked up "regenerative tourism" – giving tourists an experience that embeds Māori values and enables visitors to leave a small carbon footprint.
Ardern said it would be beneficial if New Zealand and Australia got on the same page on this front, as many travellers see the countries as a package deal.
The PM suggested it would be preferable if all airlines in the region shifted to using cleaner forms of fuel together, as not to disadvantage those that incur higher costs by making the change.
Ardern on Wednesday also opened a new display of New Zealand fashion and high-end consumer brands at the department store David Jones.
David Jones is grouping together the existing 17 Kiwi brands it already stocks, and adding another seven brands to the section of the store cordoned off for the New Zealand product promo.
Newcomers will be hoping David Jones continues stocking their products after the month-long showcase ends.
Launching the promo at a glitzy event, Ardern was surrounded by photographers, and some of New Zealand's most renowned fashion designers from the brands represented in-store, including Karen Walker and Kate Sylvester.
Her challenge over the next couple of days is ensuring she does as much as she can as the leader of a small country to ensure the businesses she's championing can in fact operate competitively in a world that faces ongoing uncertainties on the health and economic fronts, and increased instability when it comes to geopolitics.
ANZ NZ chief executive Anthonia Watson already provided a reality check on Tuesday, urging the Government to help businesses plug labour shortages by loosening immigration settings.
Other than contending with this coverage, Ardern's time in Australia has seen her do what comes naturally to her – eloquent speeches, selfies, kicking off waiata, lighting up the events immaculately staged by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
But, as she delivers a speech at the Lowy Institute think tank, engages in discussions with other government ministers as a part of the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum, and has a formal bilateral meeting with Australia Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, her messaging will need to be much more finely curated than her sales pitch of brands that can largely sell themselves.
The issues are complex, with New Zealand still closely linked to China for trade, and the new Free Trade Agreement with the European Union not giving New Zealand's cornerstone meat and dairy exporters as much access as they wanted.
Ardern will likely continue advocating for the autonomy of Pacific Island nations, New Zealand having an "independent foreign policy", and the importance of all countries (e.g. China) following a rules-based order.
Her comments will set the scene for the Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji, which is where issues around China and climate change will really be thrashed out.
It will be interesting to see how closely Ardern aligns New Zealand with Australia on some of the nitty-gritty foreign policy matters, given how offside Australia got with China under the former Scott Morrison administration.
It will also be interesting to compare the approaches of Morrison and Albanese, and figure out how any changes in positioning by Australia's new government affect New Zealand.
Geopolitics aside, all eyes will be on whether Albanese will come any closer to giving New Zealanders in Australia an easier pathway to citizenship, which would (among other things) prevent those with criminal convictions from being deported to New Zealand.
As for issues New Zealanders are grappling with daily - Covid-19, inflation, productivity, the infrastructure deficit, etc - a group of government ministers are due to meet with their counterparts in Australia to discuss such topics.
Developed countries responded similarly on the economic front to Covid-19 in 2020 and 2021. The question is, to what extent will they take similar paths as they try to support those most affected by inflation, while trying to curb inflation without killing the economy.