PM Jacinda Ardern asked what it's like to be 'more popular' overseas than in NZ during tense interview

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardren has responded to questions about how it feels to be "more popular" overseas than with New Zealand voters in an interview with Australian media. 

Ardern is currently in Australia on a trade and tourism mission after meeting with international leaders in the United Kingdom and the United States over the past few weeks. 

The Prime Minister, who is widely regarded overseas, has come under increasing pressure in Aotearoa as the country battles a cost of living crisis, increasing crime and ongoing COVID-19 challenges. 

The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll, released in May, showed Labour's vote had plummeted 6.1 points to 38.2 percent - its first tumble into the 30s since Ardern became Prime Minister in 2017. 

Meanwhile, National shot past Labour, cracking the 40 percent mark - at 40.5 percent, up a whopping 9.2 points, reaching close to its pre-pandemic heights. 

Ardern was asked about her waning national popularity during an interview by ABC's Sarah Ferguson on Thursday night. 

During the interview, Ferguson remarked it was unusual for the leader of a small Pacific country to become an international celebrity. 

Ardern responded, saying she would never think of herself in those terms. But Ferguson hit back suggesting, "the rest of the world would".

"I guess, gosh, that would be for them," Ardern responded. 

"For me, I will forever, first and foremost be the Prime Minister of New Zealand, and my focus is totally on our nation."

"If by virtue of just doing that job to the very best of my ability, there is some interest in what New Zealand does and how we do it – then I will always reflect that back to the fact that all I do is magnify the Kiwi spirit," Ardern told ABC. 

Later in the interview Ferguson asked Ardern how it felt to be "more popular abroad than at home?"

Ardern responded: "My total focus is at home. That's what matters to me". 

She is facing increasing pressure after soaring in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Along with her party suffering, the Latest Newshub-Reid Research poll found the Prime Minister's popularity is declining as well. 

Ardern's preferred Prime Minister rating dropped to 36.6 percent, down seven points. 

Meanwhile, National leader Christopher Luxon's popularity increased. He was up 6.1 points to 23.9 percent.

Earlier in the year the Prime Minister was heavily criticised after she initially refused to label the skyrocketing cost of living as a crisis. 

She also faced continual criticism over a spike in crime which eventually saw her remove under-fire Poto Williams from the police portfolio. 

In recent weeks the Government has faced heavy criticism over a lack of skilled workers in almost all sectors including healthcare, agriculture, teaching and hospitality. 

The shortages are putting immense strain on hospitals as they battle COVID-19 and an unusually bad flu season.