I sometimes think we’re quite good at double standards. It’s one of our quirky little habits and it has surfaced again this week.

I’m referring to the hand-wringing over the Prime Minister’s decision to live in his own apartment in Wellington rather than in Premier House. In doing so he elected to receive the accommodation supplement that is available to politicians who primarily reside outside the capital. The keyboard warriors have been out in force on that one.

Their pressure has resulted in Christopher Luxon stating that he will no longer accept the supplement and he will in fact refund what he has received to date. He says he doesn’t want the distraction. And I agree with him. It’s not worth it.

But this is where the double standards come in. Firstly, no one seems even remotely concerned that there are a number of other members of parliament who are doing exactly the same as Luxon was. That is, living away from their main home, staying in their own house in Wellington, and collecting the accommodation supplement to which they are entitled.

Secondly it seems to be well recognised that Premier House, in a current state of disrepair, is not fit to be the home of our Prime Minister. But the hand-wringers have nevertheless said that he should stay there and that his decision not to is his problem.

“ … no one seems even remotely concerned that there are a number of other members of parliament who are doing exactly the same as Luxon was …”

It is, yet again, a beat up and nothing more than the ongoing unhealthy obsession that many people, including some journalists, have with how many houses the Christopher Luxon owns.

It’s also funny, that while that small group of overly vocal Kiwis who complain about everything seem to be happy for the PM to live in inadequate housing, they’re not quite so vocal about him flying on an inadequate aircraft. One issue. Two double standards!

PM Luxon’s last minute change of flight plans, brought about by yet another mechanical failure in our New Zealand Defence Force Boeing 757 VIP fleet, saw him delayed in his trip to Melbourne where he was due to meet  Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. first up.

Luxon was heading to Melbourne for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit, otherwise known as ASEAN. It’s a great opportunity for our new PM to begin to build relationships with many of our international partners. Being late to arrive because your defence force plane broke down is a bit embarrassing.

With the exception of a news item on the radio about the fact that some journalists were disappointed to be left behind when Luxon jumped onto a scheduled Air NZ flight – incidentally it’s not about them, so they, like the rest of us, should move on – I never heard anyone suggesting that the PM should have waited back for the Defence Force plane to be fixed.

So we’re happy for him to live in a house that is below standards. But we don’t want him to fly on a plane that is similarly unsuitable for his work.

Of course, the issue with the reliability of the Defence Force planes has impacted us before. Previous Prime Ministers Ardern and Hipkins both experienced problems and resultant delays. It’s not a good look. But it also calls into question, particularly given our rather parlous current financial state, whether our ministers and other dignitaries should instead fly commercially with our national airline. It would certainly be cheaper and it’s a good option while we wait until we can afford to bring our defence capability up to scratch.

“If we are to value the office of the Prime Minister, then we should value the support structure that exists around them.”

It doesn’t matter who our Prime Minister is or what party they represent. If we are to value the office of the Prime Minister, then we should value the support structure that exists around them. That means their security, housing and transport arrangements. The fact that two of those matters cannot be relied on is not acceptable in a first world country.

This column has previously discussed the need to rebuild some national pride. While we will always differ in terms of who our Prime Minister is, or what party they represent, we should be respectful of the office and ensure that our country is well presented to the international marketplace that we rely on for our economic survival.

But we’re majoring in minor things here. The location of the Prime Ministerial residence or the aircraft on which he travels are neither here nor there. What I care about is whether he is doing a good job. And right now the list of priorities is long and complex. For the time being at least, Ministerial housing and Defence Force planes are a long way down that list. But we should recognise the need to ensure that our PM, and indeed all of our representatives, have the infrastructure and the support that they require to enable them to function to the best of their ability.

Bruce Cotterill is a company director and adviser to business leaders. He is the author of the book, The Best Leaders Don’t Shout, a regular NZ Herald columnist and host of the NZME’s podcast, Leaders Getting Coffee. www.brucecotterill.com