Duncan Garner clashes with Wendyl Nissen over Jacinda Ardern flight, living wage

The AM Show host Duncan Garner had a fiery exchange with guests on his show over Jacinda Ardern's decision to take a separate flight to the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru.

The Prime Minister will attend this week's forum but will not go for the full length of time because Neve is too young to get all the vaccinations she would need to enter the island.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force VIP jet will fly back from Nauru, after already dropping off a contingent, to pick Ms Ardern up on Wednesday at a cost of about $100,000 to the taxpayer.

On Tuesday morning, Garner discussed the decision with The AM Show panel guests former United Future leader Damien Light and RadioLIVE Long Lunch host Wendyl Nissen, who supported Ms Ardern's decision.

"We should not be sacrificing things like breastfeeding so that we can do our jobs," Ms Nissen said.

"Women like me, we pumped and we put that milk in the fridge and we had other women criticise us and say 'I don't like seeing breast milk in the staff fridge'. We've been making sacrifices for years, to work. I don't see why she should have to make any sacrifice."

Nissen didn't believe the cost was significant at all.

"And $100,000, so what? This is for the health of her baby. We have hired a Prime Minister who has a baby. Take it on the chin and be a world leader and say to women all throughout New Zealand 'you can work and you can have babies, you do not have to make a sacrifice'."

Garner said Ms Ardern should have delegated her role at the forum to Winston Peters, sparking a sharp retort from Nissen.

"Why should she have to delegate? That's another sacrifice. She has to be there because it's her job.

"What you're saying is that to be a woman who has a baby, there have to be sacrifices made and she has to step aside and not do her job."

Garner hit back, saying there's nothing unusual about delegating.

"I'm saying that the Government is a team and there are all sorts of people doing all sorts of things. John Key was a huge delegator."

But Nissen said Garner would likely have criticised the Prime Minister just the same had she decided to stay home with baby Neve.

"She's still going to be judged by people like you. If she didn't go, she'd be judged. She cannot win either way."

Former United Future leader Damien Light also appeared on the show, and agreed with Nissen that the cost of Ms Ardern's flight was not a big deal.

"In the scheme of things, $100,000 is not the end of the world.

"I think she's made the right decision."

The conversation then turned to the living wage, where Mr Light shared that he thinks it's fair that everyone expects a reasonable wage.

"Minimum wage is going up, which is good. The living wage is obviously quite a bit more. I agree that banks, they're earning billions of dollars, should certainly be the ones to start paying their staff.

Nissen agreed, saying when she had a business, even though it ran at a loss, it was a point of pride to pay her employees a living wage.

"I don't know why as an employer you would want your employees not to be on the living wage. Do you not want your employees to be happy? If you can't afford to pay your employees the living wage so that they can feed themselves, house themselves, be content as human beings which is a basic human right, don't have a business."

Nissen noted the practice of firing employees at the end of their 90-day trials, and while Garner said the majority of businesses do not engage in this practice, Nissen said some still do, especially with school kids.

At this point, Garner simply said "wrong" and attempted to wrap the segment up. When Nissen said he was being "very Trump-y" he said he "works [his] ass off to find out the facts" and that "facts matter, not emotion".