Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

New Zealand prime minister gives birth to baby girl

Jacinda Ardern's last week of work as PM ahead of taking leave was conducted from Auckland within driving distance New Zealand's Prime Minister arrives at hospital to give birth. She's the first pregnant world leader since 1990
| 23 June, 2018, 11:58

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has stepped in as acting prime minister and will run the country for the next six weeks while Ardern takes maternity leave, according to an agreement they published earlier.

Ms Ardern, 37, arrived at the country's largest public hospital at 5.50am local time on Thursday with her partner Clarke Gayford, her spokesman said.

"I'll be prime minister and a mum", she said on Facebook, adding that her partner Clarke Gayford, who hosts a television fishing show, would be a "stay-at-home dad".

Ms Ardern later shared the same photo on her Instagram account, and it quickly amassed tens of thousand of likes.

She is thanking the nation for best wishes and kindness - and says she is doing well thanks to the team at Auckland City Hospital. Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto gave birth while she was prime minister in 1990.

"Only later did I learn that I was the only head of government in recorded history actually to give birth while in office".

However, she said she would remain in charge by continuing to read cabinet papers during her time away.


Ardern has fielded several questions about whether she wanted children, but has told media outlets that she should not have to respond to such an inquiry.

"I am not the first woman to multitask".

Jacinda Ardern handed over the reins to her enigmatic 73-year-old deputy Winston Peters after arriving at Auckland Hospital on Thursday morning.

Ms Ardern will share news of the birth herself - most likely through Instagram like she did the pregnancy bombshell - which will the be followed by a formal government announcement.

She said that after the birth, she hoped to have some quiet time to enjoy as a family.

Political parties have been quick to acknowledge the news, with National leader Simon Bridges congratulating Ardern.

Former prime minister Helen Clark tweeted it was "a proud day for Jacinda & Clarke & for us all". She is expected to take leave for 6 weeks. "Plenty of women have multitasked before me, and I want to acknowledge that", she said when revealing the pregnancy in January. "But I think it is going to inspire a lot of women".

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