Ardern to take a summer break near Sydney


In January, Ms Ardern, her fiance Clarke Gayford and their one-year-old daughter Neve will travel to Australia, where they are expected to holiday close to Sydney instead of her usual preferred spot, the Sunshine Coast.

Before heading to Australia Ardern will spend Christmas and New Year’s near Gisborne on the east coast of New Zealand with extended family.

The appeal of an Australia holiday lies in the relative anonymity she experiences there, Ms Ardern told AAP.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, fiance Clarke Gayford and their daughter Neve. Picture: Hannah Peters/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“It’s not to escape or anything like that because in Gisborne we have a wonderful time,” she said.

“It’s just we don’t have to take our security. We can be by ourselves. It’s really nice. We can be a bit more spontaneous.”

Ms Ardern dealt with two major national crises this year; the mass shooting of 51 people in Christchurch in March by white supremacist Brenton Tarrant and this month’s White Island volcano tragedy that killed 16 people with two more missing and presumed dead and dozens badly injured.

She plans to wed fiance Mr Gayford next year and has brushed off suggestions that the couple might get hitched on their summer holiday.

“We won’t be getting married in Australia,” she says.

“Planning? Maybe if we manage to turn our minds to it. But that doesn’t sound very relaxing to me.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford arrive for the New Zealand Rugby Awards in Auckland. Picture: Dave Rowland/Getty Images

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford arrive for the New Zealand Rugby Awards in Auckland. Picture: Dave Rowland/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

NZ GUN BUYBACK PROGRAM COLLECTS 50,000 FIREARMS

New Zealand is going assault weapon free.

Authorities in the country say more than 50,000 firearms have been handed over to the police after a nationwide gun buyback program. The initiative began after a massacre at two mosques in Christchurch which left 51 dead in March.

An additional 2700 guns were modified to make them compliant with new regulations and 5000 firearms of all types were also collected as part of a no-questions-asked amnesty.

All told, the government has spent roughly $A96 million on the effort.

Following the Port Arthur massacre in April 1996, Australia collected 650,000 privately held guns in one of the largest mandatory gun buyback programs in recent history, considered the world’s leading example in gun control.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets with Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne at parliament in Wellington. Picture: AFP

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets with Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne at parliament in Wellington. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

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Twenty per cent of Australian firearms are believed to have been handed in and destroyed.

A National Firearms Agreement was also introduced, placing major new restrictions on gun ownership and making gun registers mandatory in all states.

The results speak for themselves; there’s been just two mass shootings in Australia in the past 23 years compared to 13 mass shootings in the 18 years prior to the Port Arthur massacre.

The measures have been “incredibly successful in terms of lives saved”, according to Harvard researchers.



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