Grant Robertson, Jacinda Ardern; Getty Images
Opinion

Political Breakdown: Why do we need an 'Acting PM' when we have an actual PM?

The Prime Minister is out of the country on her first overseas trip in two years. 

Getting out to the world is a vital role for the PM. I've been on numerous trips with John Key and Ardern and they do help put New Zealand on the map. 

Political Breakdown: Why do we need an 'Acting PM' when we have an actual PM?
But I've been wondering about something that happens when the Prime Minister is out of the country.
00:00 / 01:24

But I've been wondering about something that happens when the Prime Minister is out of the country. 

The deputy or another senior minister becomes the Acting Prime Minister. 

I've always just accepted it - but someone asked me why this happens. And I have no answer. 

When Ardern took maternity leave, Winston Peters became Acting Prime Minister. I can understand that. 

But why do we need an Acting Prime Minister when the actual Prime Minister is still the Prime Minister but just in a different country. 

It's not like she's uncontactable or off the radar. 

She's not on a weeks-long voyage across the oceans. 

She's in Singapore and Japan with a pool of reporters and dignitaries and officials. 

She can make decisions and run the country from afar. 

She's still the Prime Minister. 

So why is Grant Robertson being called the Acting Prime Minister? 

Why not call him what he is: the Deputy Prime Minister?