New Zealand’s first bloke Clarke Gayford has enjoyed Australian hospitality on his way home from the Queen’s funeral, accepting a ride from Anthony Albanese.
Mr Gayford, the fiance of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, was part of a Kiwi contingent of two on board the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) jet.
Acting Prime Minister Grant Robertson thanked his colleagues in Canberra for the trans-Tasman tie-up.
“What a great display of mateship that is … we’re extremely grateful,” he said.
“I’m sure there will be excellent banter and conversation about the Bledisloe Cup while they do it as well.”
The NZ Herald first reported Mr Gayford’s travel on the RAAF plane, which Mr Albanese renamed “Toto One”, after his dog.
Mr Gayford and one of Ms Ardern’s press advisors were dropped in Sydney to catch commercial flights home across the Tasman Sea.
New Zealand’s first couple were among dozens of visiting dignitaries in London for the funeral and other memorial events, the scale of which created logistical chaos for world leaders.
Invitees were encouraged to take commercial flights to the UK due to capacity constraints.
Ms Ardern and Mr Gayford did so on their way over, flying with Australian national carrier Qantas for part of their journey.
The pair parted ways after the funeral, with Ms Ardern heading to New York for the United Nations General Assembly’s 77th session.
Ms Ardern also used New Zealand’s Commonwealth connections to travel to the UN, accepting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s offer to fly from London to NYC on his plane.
“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and I have touched base on the phone, over video calls, at summits – and now on planes,” Mr Trudeau said on Twitter.
“As we travelled together from London, we reflected on Her Majesty The Queen’s devotion to service and the connection she had with Canadians and New Zealanders.
“We also spoke about Ukraine, climate change, violent extremism, reconciliation, and how we can make progress on these files together.”
Ms Ardern is in New York until Saturday.
She hosted a summit on online extremism with French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday (AEST) and announced new work with tech giants to prevent radicalisation.
Ms Ardern will deliver New Zealand’s annual statement to the UN General Assembly on Friday.
Mr Albanese has chosen not to deliver Australia’s address to the UN, opting to return home after a travel-heavy start to his prime ministership.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen are in New York in his place.
The Australian PM offered to transport Pacific leaders and officials to the Queen’s funeral, an offer taken up by Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.