High-flying Ardern books in UN visit

·3-min read

Jacinda Ardern will be one of the first passengers on Air New Zealand's direct Auckland-New York service, taking off on the inaugural flight later this month as she heads to the United Nations.

Ms Ardern has announced her attendance at the annual meeting of world leaders at the General Assembly, her eighth overseas mission in six busy months.

While in New York, she will co-host, with French President Emmanuel Macron, a meeting on eliminating online extremism.

The Christchurch Call to Action summit, named after the site of the 2019 massacre which killed 51 worshippers at two Mosques, will take place on September 20.

The New Zealand prime minister was a regular attendee at the UN's annual talks prior to COVID-19, and is a firm supporter of the multilateral organisation.

In 2018, she made history by appearing at the summit with her three-month old daughter Neve, becoming the first world leader to take an infant to the floor of the United Nations.

In 2022, she will also "participate in events to promote trade, investment, and tourism", according to a statement issued on Monday morning.

"It's an important opportunity to set out New Zealand's continued commitment to the multilateral system and international rules based order," she said.

"As the world continues to grapple with COVID-19, climate change, the Ukraine and geopolitical tensions, international cooperation is more important than ever."

Ms Ardern will give her national carrier's newest flight a boost by travelling on its first voyage on September 17.

She has already done legwork for the flight, plugging it during an appearance on Stephen Colbert's The Late Show on her last visit to the US, in May.

The new route is the centrepiece of Air New Zealand's pivot to the United States.

It has reallocated its NZ1 and NZ2 flight numbers, previously used for its London route, to the New York flights.

"Traditionally, flight numbers 1 and 2 are used for an airline's flagship route. And that's what New York will be - our flagship route," Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran said.

"In the six years leading up to Covid, the US visitor numbers to New Zealand doubled.

"Looking at the average spend in New Zealand by US tourists, we estimate that this new route would contribute an additional $NZ65 million ($A58 million) per year into the local economy."

The route is also set for trans-Tasman competition, with Qantas announcing last week it will also operate the same flight from June 2023.

Ms Ardern has travelled widely this year as part of her government's reconnection strategy, after spending more than two years solely in New Zealand during the pandemic.

New Zealand has gradually reopened its borders to the world during 2022, lessening COVID-19 restrictions over the course of this year.

ARDERN TRAVEL IN 2022

April - Singapore, Japan: A trade-oriented visit and bilateral meetings with prime ministers.

May - United States: A multi-faceted trip which included a White House visit to meet Joe Biden, delivering the Harvard University Commencement Address, signing a climate change deal with California and various trade and tourism engagements.

June - Australia: An overnight trip where she became the first world leader to visit Anthony Albanese.

June-July - Spain, Belgium, United Kingdom. Spoke at the NATO Summit and met with several European heads of government in Madrid, signed a free trade deal with the EU in Brussels, met with Boris Johnson in the UK.

July - Australia: A five-day trade mission alongside government-to-government talks, including a commitment to improve pathways to citizenship for Kiwis in Australia.

July - Fiji: Four days at the Pacific Islands Forum in Suva.

August - Samoa: A 24-hour dash to attend celebrations for Samoa's 60th anniversary of independence from New Zealand.

September - United States: A return to New York for the UN General Assembly's annual gathering and co-host, with French President Emmanuel Macron, a summit on ending online extremism.