Merkel tells New Zealanders "you can be proud of your PM"

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, left, brief the media after a meeting at the chancellery

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, left, brief the media after a meeting at the chancellery

German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern prior to a meeting in the chancellery in Berlin Tuesday, April 17

German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern prior to a meeting in the chancellery in Berlin Tuesday, April 17

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel has kind words for New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, with a little bit of prompting.

Asked Tuesday by Television New Zealand whether she had any advice on coalition governments for Ardern and to assess their first meeting, the four-term chancellor launched into a typically academic answer about the two coalition systems. She ignored the second half of the question.

Puzzled when the reporter pressed for more, Ardern turned to Merkel and explained with a smile: "she wants to know if you found me likable."

Flustered, the normally staid Merkel gushed: "My God, can't you see it was a wonderful meeting? Time flew by. It was highly interesting and it was fun. You can be proud of your prime minister, if you want to write that."