Jacinda Ardern responds to glowing New York Times column describing her as 'trying to counter Trump's ugly impulses'

Jacinda Ardern was the subject of a glowing profile in The New York Times over the weekend that described her as a counter to Donald Trump and "a preview of what could be possible" for women with political aspirations in the US - "albeit one with much better scenery."

But it was the recent controversy over the Prime Minister's quick-turnaround trip to Nauru that garnered much of Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Maureen Dowd's attention.

"Look, I expect to be criticised. I'm in politics and I'm made of tough stuff," the Prime Minister told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning as she shed more light on the profile. "You don't go through 10 years of politics without being able to take it on the chin.

"I think probably the reason it stood out for me a little bit: It was the first occasion where there was two jobs I was juggling. Two roles. But I absolutely stand by my decision."

Ms Dowd travelled to New Zealand for the column, and described meeting Ms Ardern at her home after returning from Nauru.

In her column Dowd said Ms Ardern, she said, is "part of a club of young, progressive leaders...trying to counter President Trump's ugly impulses against the environment and multilateralism".

After ticking off a list of firsts achieved by Ms Ardern, including being the first world leader to take maternity leave, Dowd suggested "the fantasy of easy equality evaporated" when the Nauru criticism surfaced.

Ms Ardern was criticised for taking a separate Air Force flight to Nauru at instead of sharing an earlier flight with Winston Peters.

The Prime Minister is making a one-day appearance at the Pacific Island Forum. Source: 1 NEWS

"...She wanted to attend because all Kiwi prime ministers consider it a can't-miss; and also because she didn't want to seem like she was shying away from an ongoing debate with Australia, as she tries to rescue refugees from the hideous holding facilities in Nauru, the shame of Australia," Dowd wrote.

"Never mind that in a nation dependent on tourism, Jacinda is the biggest thing to hit here since Frodo dropped the ring into Mount Doom. Her ministers had to defend her."

In the column, Ms Ardern opened up about her "damned if I do, damned if I don't" response to the controversy and admitted she was surprised by "how hard I took that" criticism.

Ms Ardern repeated her reasons today for taking a separate trip via air force plane to Nauru so that she could be back within 24 hours, to look after Neve. She hesitated, however, to express exasperation with what Winston Peters and Dowd both called "the trolls".

The PM has to take an extra flight to the Pacific Islands Forum as baby Neve is unable to travel with her. Source: 1 NEWS

"There's only been one occasion when a prime minister hasn't attended the Pacific Island Forum since 1971," she said today, mentioning her upcoming trip to New York City, where she plans to discuss climate change at the United Nations General Assembly.

"Some of those Pacific leaders who are at the Pacific Island Forum just don't have the chance to attend and be on that platform, and yet some are in the most climate affected parts of the world," she said.

"I see New Zealand as needing to play a leadership role and we can't do it unless we are working alongside our Pacific neighbours. New Zealand needed to be represented at that meeting, so I stand by it."

The PM is heading to Vietnam where she'll rub shoulders with the likes of presidents Trump and Putin.
Source: 1 NEWS

Making a final comparison to American politics, Dowd pointed out that Mr Trump's visits to golf clubs have cost taxpayers there more than $70 million, and President Barack Obama was once hailed as "a romantic hero" after taking his wife on a date in Manhattan that cost an estimated $72,000.

"I was most happy to contribute to our urbane president’s date nights," Ms Dowd concluded.

Columnist Maureen Dowd visited her home and called her an antidote to Trump politics. Source: Breakfast