Following a tough day in Whakatāne, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the short trip to visit the people of Rotorua on Thursday. On her visit, Ardern sat down with Rotorua Daily Post reporter Caroline Fleming to talk about the city's homeless, what a vaccine might mean for international tourism, what she thinks about her ranking on the Forbes List of the world's most powerful woman and her No 1 Christmas wish.
Homeless people living in the city's motels is not the long game - the Government wants them in housing, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.
But she would rather have "shelter than no shelter at all" for those in need.
Ardern visited Rotorua yesterday with Minister of Health Andrew Little and Seniors Associate Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall to launch Tiaki Whānau, a pilot programme supporting young parents needing extra help.
The Government allocated $10 million as part of Budget 2019 Mental Wellbeing Package for three pilot programmes for young parents.
Tiaki Whānau, in the Lakes District Health board area, was the first of these pilots.
Ardern said the plan was always to provide more public housing.
"We have always wanted to be out of motels, but the choice for us is we would rather shelter than no shelter at all. The long term plan is to withdraw."
She said providing public housing and support was a "big focus" for the Government to ensure motels were open again when possible.
The Government was working hard to ensure tenants were supported and did not get trapped in the "vicious cycle" of being homeless time and time again, she said.
When asked about the Ministry of Social Development paying high rents to landlords to house homeless and "moving the problem around", she said she would dig further into whether this was an issue locally.
"Building, building, building" was the answer to the city's homeless problem and housing shortage, she said.
The Government had a plan to provide 18,000 public houses nationally by 2024, increase transitional housing numbers and address the lack of housing stock in general, she said.
To do this, she said it would support developers as "more houses in the market had an impact". During the Global Financial Crisis home building approvals halved.
"We've tried to get in front of that this time."
The Government had set up a developers' support programme to underwrite developments that might not otherwise be financed, she said.
"So we can keep seeing developers build. We just need more supply, it changes everything."
When asked about how far off the country was in terms of a vaccine and how this would affect international tourism, she said it was a multi-faceted situation.
She said they were waiting on research about how the vaccine would affect rates of transmission and how fast they could roll it out to the population - both "key" in opening the borders.
Although overseas countries were starting vaccination programmes, she said New Zealand's would weigh heavily on when they finished and were fully vaccinated.
"That will likely take quite a few more months."
Frontline workers, including those in healthcare and border workers, would be first in line for the vaccination when it came to New Zealand shores, she said.
Elderly, immunocompromised and other high-risk people would come next.
Forbes ranked Ardern as the 32nd most powerful woman in the world, with the Queen of England lower than her on the list.
Ardern said she believed the Queen was "under-ranked".
"My heart and my work is here so the only thing that matters to me is whether New Zealanders think I'm doing a good job."
On a lighter note, what was on the top of the Prime Minister's 2020 Christmas List?
She responded with a simple "sleep".
"Is that a gift you can put a bow on?"
She said she also just wanted time to play with her young daughter Neve, who was finally at the age where she understood what Christmas was about and had a mild obsession with Christmas trees.
"I just want everybody to have a really good break, everyone deserves it."