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Friday, 19 January 2018

The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern is pregnant with her first Child.

 




New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has announced she is pregnant with her first child.

Ardern, who was sworn into office in October, said in a Facebook post that she and her partner, Clarke Gayford, are expecting in June.

“Clarke and I are really excited that in June our team will expand from two to three and that we’ll be joining the many parents out there who wear two hats,” the 37-year-old wrote.

 “I’ll be prime minister and a mum, and Clarke will be ‘the first man of fishing’ and stay at home dad. I think it’s fair to say that this will be a wee one that a village will raise, but we couldn’t be more excited.”

The deputy prime minister, Winston Peters, will take over to allow Ardern to take six weeks of maternity leave after the baby is born. In a statement, Ardern said she intended to be “fully contactable” during her period of maternity leave.
At the end of her leave she intended to resume “all prime ministerial duties”, she said.

The Green party leader, James Shaw, congratulated the prime minister and Gayford.

“That a woman can be the prime minister of New Zealand and choose to have a family while in the office says a lot about the kind of country we are and that we can be – modern, progressive, inclusive, and equal,” Shaw said.

“For that reason, I know this announcement will be significant for many women, in particular, and that all New Zealanders will share in the prime minister’s joy today.”

Ardern said her pregnancy had been confirmed on 13 October, meaning her child would have been conceived during one of the closest election campaigns New Zealand has seen, with Ardern finding out the news six days before being confirmed as prime minister.

The former New Zealand prime minister Jenny Shipley said it was “brilliant” news.

“It’s a wonderful choice for our outstanding young woman leader who is also going to choose to be a parent,” Shipley told RNZ. “It will bring special insight I suspect in her work and joy to her family.”

Congratulatory messages have been pouring in from friends, colleagues, and family.

Gayford, a television presenter on a TV fishing show, would become a stay-at-home father, and accompany Ardern “as much as possible” with the new baby when she went back to work to allow the prime minister to spend time with her child.

“We’re going to make this work and New Zealand is going to help us raise our first child,” Ardern said.

She told her partner Gayford about the pregnancy using Facebook messenger while he was away filming. The news came as “complete surprise” to both, as they had been told they would need help conceiving a baby.

Ardern said before being elected Labour leader in August last year she and Gayford had started taking steps to have a family but those efforts stopped once she was promoted to leader.

Morning sickness had made keeping the secret “a little tricky”, but otherwise so far, the pregnancy symptoms had not been “too bad” and she did not predict her government having to adapt too much to her baby – except for the cabinet cars installing baby seats.

Ardern noted that the Speaker, Trevor Mallard, had already encouraged a family-friendly environment in parliament, and had repeatedly been photographed holding MP’s babies while they were engaged in debate.

“Lots of people juggle a lot of things in their personal and private lives, and I’m not unusual in that. Plenty of women have multitasked before me, and I want to acknowledge that.”

Gayford said he was looking forward to diving into “the great unknown” of being a dad and was getting lots of advice from his female friends and sisters.

“Initially it will be important that Jacinda gets as much time as possible [with the baby] so I am going to try and be as flexible as possible, and close, so she’s across everything as much as possible.” 

A reporter at Ardern’s media conference asked if the couple planned on getting married, to which Gayford responded, “Wow, I like the idea that we’re doing everything in reverse.”

In early August, six hours after being elected to lead the Labour party, Ardern was grilled about her baby plans repeatedly by New Zealand media.

In scenes that quickly went viral, Ardern fought back, defending women’s rights to privacy about their baby plans. She said it was “unacceptable” for any employer to ask a woman whether she intended to have children.

“I decided to talk about it, it was my choice, so that means I am happy to keep responding to those questions,” said Ardern, who had in the past expressed the desire to have a family.

“But, you,” she said, turning her chair to face the TV host Mark Richardson, and pointing her finger directly at him, “it is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace. It is unacceptable, it is unacceptable.”

The AM co-host, Amanda Gillies, applauded as Ardern went on: “It is a women’s decision about when they choose to have children, and it should not predetermine whether or not they are given a job or have job opportunities.”

The exchange and repeated questioning of Ardern over her plans for children sparked debate within New Zealand and accusations of sexism.

Throughout her two-month election battle and since becoming PM, Ardern has repeatedly been asked about whether she intended to have children, and how she would be able to juggle being an effective prime minister with raising a family.

Ardern said she had waited till now to share the news with New Zealanders to ensure the baby was healthy and well.

“From a personal perspective, I am so looking forward to my new role as a parent. But I am equally focused on my job and responsibilities as prime minister.

“While 2018 will be the year I become a mum, it will also be a year that the government finishes our 100-day plan, and starts pursuing all of the priorities that will build a better New Zealand. I look forward to leading that work, and having a slightly expanded family join me on that journey.”



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