“ACT is calling on the Prime Minister to show some leadership and step in for her MIA Foreign Affairs Minister by stopping in the Pacific on her way home,” says ACT’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“At the moment New Zealand is letting our Pacific allies down with our absence around the issue of China seeking a deal with Pacific Islands covering policing, security and data communications cooperation.

“Good Foreign Affairs Ministers of the past have been known to barely set foot in New Zealand they’re so focused on international relations. Nanaia Mahuta has only made three trips outside New Zealand since becoming Minister.

“Now the world is opening up it’s more important than ever to leave Zoom diplomacy behind and get back to face to face relationship building.

“That’s what other countries are doing. Australia’s new Foreign Affairs Minister had barely let the ink dry on her ministerial warrant before she was meeting Pacific leaders.

“Nanaia Mahuta should give up on pushing though the wildly unpopular and divisive Three Waters and worry about what’s important.

“This is a serious threat to Pacific security. We are a small nation, but we should be a leading democracy in the region.

“If she refuses to get her priorities in order, then the Prime Minister should show some leadership and do it herself.”