It's not the Prime Minister's fault that she hasn't visited her Mt Albert constituency, or indeed the wider locked-up mega city of Auckland, nothing ever is.
It's the fault of the Inspector General of Parliament Trevor Mallard, who clearly needs to feel powerful - he requires any MP, or for that matter anyone working in the place, to have a double negative Covid test if they're coming from Auckland to self-isolate for five days.
Other essential workers returning to the capital don't have to go through that sort of rigmarole but Jacinda Ardern says as an essential worker it's her job "to run the country" and not spend time at home twiddling her thumbs, unlikely of course, with a toddler in tow.
But surely if she can give speeches to APEC and the East Asia Summit, as she did last night, then she could do the odd zoom into the Beehive down the road to give them the hand of gentle guidance.
Her good buddy Mallard is probably doing her a favour though, by keeping her away from Auckland. Why would the beaming, good news Ardern want to see first-hand the doom and gloom that has been inflicted on the city which is at wits end?
The new traffic lights on the road to nowhere are stuck on red until at least the end of next month, while the nigh-on impossible task of getting 90 percent of the city's residents double jabbed is undertaken. The longer it goes on, the more Aucklanders feel that Ardern has a duty to front up in person rather than pontificating at them from the Pulpit of Truth several times a week.
And the fury will grow when she announces that she's off to Europe in a couple of weeks time, taking her tribe of apparatchiks with her with the media traipsing along to witness the spectacle.
You know what that means, special privileged slots at the desperately sought-after MIQ facilities that tens of thousands of kiwis are lining up for on their return - no lobby waiting rooms or raffle tickets for them.
And of course, it totally negates her argument that she can't go to Auckland because she would have to do five days at home in Wellington on her return.
She was asked about the trip to Europe by Act's David Seymour in Parliament but totally avoided the question. At her sermon from the pulpit a little later, she was asked about it again and said she 'has nothing to confirm today." The same political weasel words were used more than a month ago when I inquired about it.
But Ardern did add our Free Trade Talks with Europe have reached a critical juncture which clearly need a nudge with her formidable negotiating skills.
Perhaps this transparent Government is waiting for news of her European trip to be tweeted first by a diplomat, just as Trade Minister Damien O'Connor's was a few days before he left for London recently.
Barry Soper is a New Zealand political journalist, and has been featured regularly on radio and television since the 1970s. Currently, Soper's main role is political editor at Newstalk ZB, a radio network in New Zealand.
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