POST TIME: 5 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
New Zealand premier defends $50,000 flight

New Zealand premier defends $50,000 flight

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has defended a decision to have a plane make an extra flight so she can spend less time away from her baby, reports BBC.

Ms Ardern, who still breastfeeds her baby, is headed to the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru for a day today. The air force plane that dropped her deputy Winston Peters there on Monday is being sent back to New Zealand to pick her up. The round trip will cost taxpayers an estimated NZ$80,000 ($52,873; £41,173).

"I weighed this up. I even went to the extent of checking whether or not I could hitch a ride with Australia. We checked multiple options to try to find alternate ways for me to get there," she told the NZ Herald newspaper on Monday.

"The option was go for a short time or not go at all. If I didn't go, I imagine there would have been equal criticism... damned if I did and damned if I didn't."

She added that she was told the Air Force plane was unable to stay on Nauru in any case, and would have had to park at the Marshall Islands, which is an hour away.