While desperate beneficiaries line up in the cold and the rain outside the offices of Work and Income looking for a hardship grant, the Prime Minister is enjoying the sunny skies of Aitutaki.

THE PRIME MINISTER HAS never been one to turn down an opportunity of some free publicity. 

The Queen of Selfies has already graced the covers of a stackful of women's magazines and whether its having a laugh on TVNZ's Breakfast or paying for someone's groceries at the supermarket, Jacinda  Ardern is proving to be her own best spin doctor.

But because she is own her best spin doctor, she has been less keen for people to know that she is presently holidaying in the Cook Islands, taking a break from a New Zealand winter that most of us just have to put up with. Her office staff had been instructed to keep her travel arrangements confidential but the media found out anyway when she, Clarke Gayford and child were spotted in Rarotonga and a story duly appeared on the Cook Islands News website.

According to news reports, Ardern and family are now on the luxurious holiday resort of Aitutaki, which is a 45 minute flight from Rarotonga. According to Newstalk ZB's Mike Yardley, who the NZ Herald sent to investigate, 'Life is certainly a day dream on blissful Aitutaki'. And very nice it looks too, judging from the photos. But it ain't cheap.

Aitutaki : Austerity-free.
So why the attempt at secrecy? In the age of excess, pre-2018 financial crash, a holiday in plush Aitutaki would probably of passed by with little media scrutiny. But this is the age of austerity and Jacinda Ardern is the leader of a government that is keeping the purse strings closed and the belts tightened via its 'Budget Responsibility Rules'. 

Thanks to her government's  absurd net debt target of 20 percent of GDP, beneficiaries are not getting the benefit increases they so desperately need and parents of children with severe heart conditions say surgeries are constantly delayed and there aren't enough beds or surgeons.

So while its austerity for the rest of us, its a luxurious holiday in the South Pacific for the Prime Minister. There's a lot of the 'do as I say, not what I do' in all of this. But isn't that always the way? Rarely do those who preach austerity, actually practice it themselves.


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