British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's current woes appear to have prompted a moment of worry for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern that she will start to be seen as the harbinger of doom for British Prime Ministers.
Ardern met with Johnson at 10 Downing St for lunch only six days ago – he is now facing a Last Stand as a string of Cabinet ministers resign and even some of his allies call on him to step down following a string of scandals and a failed no-confidence vote against him a month ago.
Asked about Johnson's plight, Ardern rather indelicately joked the stramash "was in no way related to my recent visit".
She then recalled the fate that befell former PM Theresa May soon after Ardern met with her in 2019, adding there was also link there either.
Ardern had met with May on May 16 in 2019 while in Paris for the Christchurch Call summit – nine days before May announced she would resign after her struggles to deliver on a Brexit deal. Ardern had also visited her at 10 Downing Street in January of the same year.
At the time Ardern said she had messaged May "to personally thank her for her support on a number of issues of importance to New Zealand".
Ardern left the UK for the currently more serene political pond of Australia a few days ago, but National Party leader Christopher Luxon has turned up in London just in time for the fireworks.
Luxon has not yet been able to be contacted for comment. It is understood he was not due to meet Johnson but he was supposed to meet senior minister Michael Gove – who Johnson sacked last night.
Ardern is not the only New Zealand Prime Minister to have been on the scene around the premature departure of a British Prime Minister.
Back in 2016, Sir John Key visited 10 Downing Street to see the outgoing PM David Cameron on the same day Cameron learned that his resignation had been brought forward by three months because May had just been installed as the Conservative Party leader (and PM) after her rival Andrea Leadsom pulled out of the contest.
It was an informal visit - Key and Cameron are good friends – and Key later reported Cameron had met him wearing jeans and a T-shirt and was surrounded by moving boxes as he scrambled to leave in time for May to move in.
New Zealand Prime Ministers beat a regular path to the black door at Downing Street. Helen Clark's ranged from Tony Blair in 2000 and Gordon Brown in 2007. Key visited Gordon Brown in 2009, and Cameron several times, including his informal exit visit in 2016. Bill English met with Theresa May in 2017 and Ardern also met May in 2018 during the CHOGM Summit in London.
Covid-19 has meant visits with Johnson were rarer – Johnson took over as Prime Minister in July 2019 and Ardern did not travel to Europe before borders closed in early 2020.
However, Key met him in 2013 when Johnson was London Mayor and Johnson visited New Zealand as Foreign Secretary in 2017.