Prime Minister Christopher Luxon reportedly stayed at Premier House over Christmas despite saying it's unlivable

Newshub's Jenna Lynch says the Prime Minister is facing a "massive perception problem" after it emerged he stayed two nights in Premier House over Christmas. 

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has been very vocal about the fact he can't live in Premier House because it needs tens of millions of dollars of repairs. 

Heritage NZ has backed up the Prime Minister's claims saying the building is in a dishevelled state partly as a result of the multiple purposes it serves. 

But on Thursday morning Stuff revealed Luxon spent two nights at Premier House over Christmas last year. It was previously reported that he hosted his extended family for festive celebrations. 

This has led to questions about whether Premier House is really unlivable. 

The last Prime Minister to live there full time was Dame Jacinda Ardern and she brought up her baby daughter Neve there. 

Newshub Political Editor Jenna Lynch joined AM on Thursday morning and told the show Luxon's reasoning behind not living there doesn't add up. 

"The Prime Minister has been telling us that he doesn't want to live in this place because it is uninhabitable, because it is under construction, because it needs significant repair. However, it seems it was good enough to host his family Christmas there," Lynch told AM co-host Lloyd Burr. 

Luxon has also faced scrutiny for originally deciding to claim a $52,000-a-year allowance to live in his own mortgage-free apartment. 

Last Friday, he fiercely defended it, saying he was entitled to it as an MP who didn't usually live in Wellington. But the public backlash was so swift and strong that he climbed down within a couple of hours, acknowledging it was "becoming a distraction". 

Lynch told AM this whole saga has left the Prime Minister with a lot of questions to answer. 

"Christopher Luxon has a massive perception problem around this thing," she said. 

"If it's good enough for Jacinda Ardern and her toddler to live in, it was good enough for John Key to live in, it is not good enough for Christopher Luxon to live in and the question is why?" 

Newshub has previously asked to film inside Premier House to see how a proposed renovation budgeted at tens of millions of dollars was justified. 

But the Prime Minister refused to allow cameras inside, citing security concerns. 

"There has been a longstanding convention around security issues... just in terms of it's been a longstanding tradition not to share interior photos," Luxon told Newshub earlier this week. 

Former Prime Minister and current Labour leader Chris Hipkins said he wouldn't have had a problem with filming inside. 

Lynch told AM there are two parts to Premier House. One is downstairs, which is the more formal area with dining and gathering rooms, designed for hosting dignitaries. The second part is the living quarters, which are upstairs. 

She said the security issues Luxon is talking about relate to media not being able to film the living quarters. 

Lynch told AM the issues the Prime Minister is facing all stem back to him accepting a $52,000-a-year allowance to live in his own mortgage-free apartment. 

"He can make the decision not to live there if he likes, but the real problem with this story was he made the decision not to live there, a free house paid for by the taxpayer, we have to pay for it whether he lives there or not, and then also decided to take the allowance for him to live somewhere else." 

Lynch added Luxon got himself into trouble when he accepted that allowance as no Prime Minister in over 30 years has accepted it. 

"His language around it was God awful. He was talking about being entitled and I don't know where that advice came from," Lynch told AM. 

"He just mismanaged this so terribly and just did not understand the impact that it would have on Kiwis who are struggling right now and meanwhile, he is getting near on a half-million dollar salary and needing to top it up with an accommodation supplement to live in a house that he owns mortgage free." 

Watch the full interview above.