White House trip likely for Ardern as Ambassador flies out – 1News understands

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's visit to the White House is looking increasingly likely, as the US Ambassador to New Zealand flies to Washington, 1News understands.

Covid protocols mean a meeting between the two leaders is not confirmed as Jacinda Ardern heads for the US.

This is the biggest sign so far that a White House trip will get the green light, as Ardern continues her whirlwind trip of the US.

It's traditional for the US Ambassador to travel to Washington DC to help smooth the way for a Prime Minister's visit.

The move is a sign that a meeting between Ardern and US President Joe Biden will get the green light, though the visit still hasn't been confirmed and there is still a chance it won't go ahead.

READ: Ardern - No scheduled Biden meeting doesn't diminish US trip

1News understands that officials are going full steam ahead in preparing for a potential visit, however the main sticking point between officials remains Ardern's earlier Covid-19 infection.

Visits to see Biden are decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on a number of factors including where the person has travelled and how long ago they were infectious.

A meeting with Biden was not confirmed prior to Ardern leaving New Zealand due to Covid protocols, with Ardern only just coming out of isolation recently after having Covid.