Simon Bridges unloads on Jacinda Ardern, calls her a 'part-time PM' for visiting Tokelau during Ihumātao protests

Opposition leader Simon Bridges has called Jacinda Ardern a "part-time Prime Minister" for visiting Tokelau while issues remain at Ihumātao in South Auckland. 

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The National leader said Ms Ardern should have gone during Parliamentary recess. Source: 1 NEWS

"When you've got an economy stalling, when you've got the first Māori land occupation we've seen in a very long time, it beggars belief the Prime Minister right now is in Tokelau," the National leader said. 

"Frankly, I think a lot of New Zealanders will be starting to wonder whether they have a part-time Prime Minister and a part-time Government."

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The National Party leader says the PM should be at home dealing with issues here. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Ardern is the first PM to visit Tokelau, a New Zealand territory, since 2004, travelling from July 27 to August 1. 

"Our visit presents the opportunity to celebrate the strength of this relationship and reaffirm our commitments to Tokelau," Ms Ardern said ahead of the visit. She is also visiting Samoa. 

When asked if he did not consider the New Zealand citizens living on Tokelau as everyday New Zealanders, Mr Bridges said, "there's 1500 (people living on the atolls), that's great, but the reality is to spend days there when there's streets in every MP's electorate the Prime Minister's never been to, there's plenty of incredibly serious issues in this country that aren't being dealt with". 

"We've just had a three week recess, we have Parliament on and she's decided to spend days getting to a place where every MP in this House has more people living on particular streets than live there. 

"She clearly isn't focused on the issues that matter."

Acting Prime Minister Kelvin Davis said the PM had "long-standing obligations". 

"An international visit isn't something that can be switched on and switched off, there's a lot of preparation and she's got to fulfill those obligations. Those of us who are left behind are working on brokering a solution (to Ihumātao)."