Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern popped into the Rotorua Daily Post to answer a few questions.


When you think 'Rotorua' what's the first thing that comes to mind?
I have really specific things. I think of supermarket shopping because when we used to live in Murupara once a week on a Saturday we would drive to Rotorua to go to the supermarket and it was always a highlight of my week. It was the big smoke for me.

What can locals expect from next week's Budget announcement?
We've talked a lot about the kinds of areas we'll be investing in; health, housing, education but all of that for us is about making it easier for people. If you have hospital needs they're met, if your child is going to school they have all of the resources they need, if in your area there are housing issues, we're addressing those too.

What do you think is the biggest challenge Rotorua faces right now?
Good local services. We have a big focus on regional development, decent job opportunities, particularly for young people. I grew up in a small town and often you talk about what you would do after [school] and often it was about whether or not there were jobs that would keep you where you grew up. Also making sure we've got good infrastructure in our regions. We feel like there's been a bit of a deficit there.

Who do you think has been the greatest MP in Labour's history?
Michael Joseph Savage. We've had amazing MPs, but it's hard to look past one of the ones who built the foundations for us.

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Who in the opposition do you most admire?
When I was in Auckland Central I got to know Nikki Kaye quite well and she was a really hard worker and really focused on what she was doing so I admire that.

What do you think it will take for Labour to win back the Rotorua seat?
You can look at these issues through the lens of what will it take to win or what will it take for people to see that we have them in our hearts and that we're really focused on making things better. I hope that will translate into people thinking we deserve support.

What has been the most challenging thing since becoming Prime Minister?
Just the diversity of the challenges, the range of issues you might any one day be covering off is huge but that's what I love about it as well.

And what's been the best or most rewarding thing?
Just people. If I'm having a tough day the thing that lifts my spirits is being around people.

What advice are you hearing most about having a newborn?
Everyone makes a joke about getting all the sleep you can, I'm like 'I'm the prime minister I don't get sleep'. Clarke's favourite was the father that came up to him and said 'you should know that mashed banana really stains'. That one's stuck with him.

On that note, how is the name hunt going?
Terrible. If anyone has some suggestions let me know. If we come out with a child that has no name for a long time and is just called Pepi you'll know why.

Who are you rooting for on Dancing With The Stars?
I do know Shavaughn [Ruakere] and Sam [Hayes] so of course you're always rooting for the people that you know.