Jacinda Ardern promises draft law to double sick leave will be introduced before Christmas

The Prime Minister has doubled down on her election promise to double sick leave, promising to introduce the legislation before Christmas. 

Jacinda Ardern announced the progress in a speech to the business community on Thursday among a suite of COVID-related commitments, while also revealing her plans for post-pandemic travel. 

"I'm very aware that I'm speaking with you at a time when New Zealand feels like a calm oasis in a chaotic and difficult world," Ardern told the business community in Auckland. 

Despite the COVID-19 chaos out there, Ardern is planning her big Prime Ministerial OE - a round the world trade trip. 

"When we are in a position to change our border settings, a trade mission will be top of my list."

Foreign Affairs officials are already planning the dream trip jetting everywhere there is export cash - the UK, Europe, China and the United States. 

Depending who gets the keys to the White House, Ardern might get to visit America - something she has not yet ticked off her prime ministerial bucket list. 

"I haven't done so, but you've seen me really prioritise - particularly where we've had strong trade interests and agreements we've been developing - that's meant going into particularly Europe in the last term, and that has been because of that FTA [free trade agreement]."

But Ardern will only go when things calm down - COVID-wise. 

With returning New Zealanders and essential workers arriving in the country required to spend two weeks in managed isolation, Ardern said she would be bound by the same rules. 

"I have of course focused on the period in which we wouldn't have the same border restrictions because obviously, I expect that I will have the same rules apply to me as any other New Zealander."

Until then, the economic recovery phase of COVID-19 goes back into hyperdrive - on home soil. 

"Let's crack on with it," Ardern said. 

The first order of business will be giving the nod to Labour's promises of extending the small business loan scheme and the $300 million flexi-wage scheme to get unemployed Kiwis working again. 

"From our perspective, and I know from yours, there is no time to lose," Ardern told the business community. 

Fast-tracking another campaign pledge, Ardern is promising to extend sick leave to 10 days per year. 

"It is important for us, particularly in this COVID environment, to make sure that people have access to adequate sick leave," she said. 

It brings New Zealand in line with Australia - but business is wary.

"We want to be really mindful of imposing more cost on small businesses, particularly if those businesses are seeing demand drop away," said Business NZ CEO Kirk Hope. 

"We want to work with employers to make sure that we get this right," Ardern told reporters. 

But getting it right, to the Prime Minister, means 10 days - no negotiation. 

"Yes, it is 10 days," she said, when asked if sick leave would definitely be doubled or if the Government might bend to business pressure. 

Her bottom line has been drawn. 

When can the Government get down to business?

On Friday all of the newly-minted ministers will trek up to Government house to be officially sworn in by the Governor-General and following that they'll have their first Cabinet meeting.

Also on Friday, the final results election results come out - all of the special votes included - and while nowhere near as controversial as the vote count going on in America, there are some swings to watch out for.

Those close margins are in seats like Waiariki, Auckland Central and Whangarei. Also, watch out for the overall vote - traditionally National loses a seat or two when the specials come in.

The final referendum results will be released at the same time. It'd be hard to turn around the euthanasia result but 'yes' campaigners for legalising weed haven't conceded - they're still hoping for a miracle.