No Aust trip or summer wedding for Ardern

November 29, 2022 10:29 AM AEDT | By AAPNEWS
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Jacinda Ardern has decided against a wedding or an Australian holiday this summer, staying home in New Zealand to prioritise time with family.

The prime minister is spending her annual block of leave on Kiwi shores, saying recent family struggles drew out a need to stay close to home.

"Dad had cancer last year so that's been a bit hard," she told the New Zealand Woman's Weekly, "and things like that hang over you a bit."

Ms Ardern's father, Ross, is a former police officer and diplomat who retired earlier this year, finishing up duties in the Pacific as administrator of NZ territory Tokelau, and previously the high commissioner to Niue.

The prime minister's mother, Laurell, has also suffered the disease, making a full recovery from breast cancer years ago.

"We're a very tight-knit family ... it just reminds you what's really important and that's to spend as much quality time together as you can. That's the enduring lesson for me," the PM said.

On top of her regular diplomatic visits to Australia, Ms Ardern is a regular traveller and holiday-maker in Australia, enjoying the relative anonymity outside New Zealand.

On past trips she has stayed near Sydney and the Sunshine Coast, dropping in on Australian based family members.

Two years of COVID-enforced border closures meant Ms Ardern - like all New Zealanders - spent her break at home in 2020 and 2021, which the PM said reminded her of the joy of a Kiwi summer.

"One of the things COVID really showed me was how much I enjoy having summer in New Zealand," she said.

"I had the mindset that to have a break I'd need to leave the country so I'd pop over the Australia for a bit.

"With COVID, that wasn't an option. What that taught me was that I can have a great holiday with family here and it feels like a real holiday so we're staying home."

Despite staying home, Ms Ardern insists it won't be the summer when she finally marries fiance Clarke Gayford, a fishing television show host.

The pair, engaged at Easter 2019, have already canned two attempts at a wedding due to COVID-19, and Ms Ardern said she was increasingly resigned to waiting until after the election - expected late in 2023 - to tie the knot.

"We probably left it a little bit too late, so no, we don't have a date or a plan," Ms Ardern told the NZ Herald this month.

"We had loosely said this summer and then we just were too slow and our friends are all very busy and all over the place.

"Barring us doing something spontaneous I can't see how that's going to happen (before the election).

"I can assure you I put all of my effort in planning into running the country as opposed to my own wedding planning," she said, laughing.

The pair have one daughter, Neve, and Ms Ardern said this year would be the Christmas the four-year-old would learn her family's chocolate snowballs recipe.

"She's put in a plug for a fishing rod for Christmas much to Clarke's delight," Ms Ardern said.


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