Illustration of Polly Gillespie surrounded by beach and holiday items

Jacinda Ardern deserves a really fine vacation – here’s how I would plan it

Home » Features & Profiles » Profiles » Jacinda Ardern deserves a really fine vacation – here’s how I would plan it

1 January 1970

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Polly says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern needs a travel planner and fun consultant – and she’s up for the job. She details the exact holiday our PM needs.

Sometimes a small dog – one of mine, not a random one does something “doggy” in the family room and I lose internet connection on the small TV way down the hall in my bedroom. We have fibre, so Lord only knows how it happens.

All I know is the Netflix show I’m binge-watching cuts out, and I’m left with good old “normal” TV.

Usually, I panic and attempt to channel surf away from infomercials, but last week – when the dog chaos ensued and I ended up back in the land of “olden days” TV – Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was being interviewed by one of those tricky breakfast news journalists. She was typically stellar.

I recall the journo throwing some curveball questions at her and, steady as a rock, she returned considered but not overtly politically bland answers.

She’s an extraordinary leader. This is obviously not a groundbreaking revelation. Everyone from Forbes to Fortune magazine rates her as the best leader in the world. Not bad for a politician who was elected Prime Minister just seven weeks after taking over as Labour’s leader. Here’s the odd thing though:

I worry about Jacinda just a little. She’s so famous now, I doubt she could go anywhere in the world and not be recognised. Sure, she could put on a baseball cap and dark glasses and maybe walk down Fifth Avenue in New York City, but the woman is basically Madonna-level famous. She’s a global sensation.

I watched her and all I could think was: “Jacinda deserves a really fine vacation.”

Now, I’m not saying she looks tired – she looks great – but I’ve never seen a politician anywhere in the world come out of office at the end of a few years in power looking better than when they went in. Look at Obama. The man went in looking 28 and came out looking like someone’s grandfather.

The stress of running a country minus a pandemic must be harrowing – how must it be when five million people are relying on you to keep our little Middle Earth safe from the eye of Sauron? (In this instance, Covid is the evil force). I sat, watched, pondered, then I hatched an idea for what I’d like to see as a holiday for Jacinda, Clarke and daughter Neve.

There’s an island somewhere remote. Not Stewart Island. An island in the Pacific that takes three planes and a couple of boats to get to. There’s a modest luxury villa, and a couple of local staff in an equally modest villa several hundred metres away in a separate bay. The Ardern-Gayford party arrives. The family disembarks the boat and steps easily onto shore through warm, perfectly clear little waves. They are barefoot, all three. The only sound is the rustle of palm fronds as a gentle tropical breeze passes by the coconut trees.

The weather is ridiculously perfect: the sky is blue, it’s not too humid, just “womb-like warm” and ever so sunny. Clarke notices a wooden fishing boat moored at the end of a small jetty. His eyes light up. Jacinda smiles that beautiful big smile and remembers reading Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea at school. She plops a happy Neve on to the white sandy beach. There are no cameras. No assistants madly texting away on smartphones. No annoying political reporters in her face asking silly questions. Paradise.

Next scene: It’s another stunning day. “Is it day four or day five?” Jacinda wonders. She’s lost track of time. She’s lying on a huge beach towel in a stunning aqua bikini, large hat and stylish sunnies. She’s slapped on enough sunscreen to protect an entire primary school. Clarke and Neve are running and playing on the beach, while Jacinda is casually flicking through a magazine (most certainly Woman) as she sips on a virgin mojito. Beside her, in the shade of an umbrella, is a tray of yummy treats: breads, tasty cakes and an assortment of Whittaker’s chocolates on ice.

There are no iPhones, iPads, laptops or direct lines to the president of the United States. No one is running down to tell her the figures in the latest Colmar Brunton preferred PM polls. From her nearby tiny villa she can hear Six60’s latest album playing, and she wonders to herself whether she’d like fish for dinner, or perhaps more fish. Clarke has been out in the boat, and it’s fresh fish for everyone.

I’m a political flip-flopper. I vote from my heart and often only decide when I get to the voting booth, but I do admire Jacinda hugely. I not only admire her, but it would seem I worry about her enormous burden of running the nation and being scrutinised by the entire world. So much so that I sit dreaming up a fantasy island escape for her. Maybe she needs a bloody good stress-free break away from being the most famous politician on the planet – or maybe she needs to hire me as her travel planner and fun consultant.

I’m up for it Jacinda. I’m totally up for the job!

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