A female leader of any country is exciting news, but when she is young, pregnant and about to embark on maternity leave, now that’s breaking news.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Arden has announced she is pregnant. Arden is New Zealand’s third female prime minister, and has been in the top job since October 2017
I would be mummy and prime minister
She made the announcement on her face book page and held a press conference outside her residence. “We thought 2017 was a big year! 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,” she wrote.
“I’ll be Prime Minister AND a mum, and Clarke will be ‘first man of fishing’ and stay at home dad.
“We’re both really happy. We wanted a family but weren’t sure it would happen for us, which has made this news unexpected but exciting,” she said.
Meet baby daddy
She said she and Gayford knew of her pregnancy on October 13, but did not share their news until her pregnancy was further along.
Her fiancée Gayford is a television and radio presenter, who hosted a fishing show on local television called Fish of the Day. Arden said her partner, who is also a keen surfer, was just as excited as she was about the news.
“Clarke and I have always been clear we wanted to be parents but had been told we would need help for that to happen. “That’s made this news a fantastic surprise.”
On juggling between a country and baby
In a media conference outside her house in Auckland, Arden said she was in the middle of leadership negotiations when she found out, and Gayford was away filming for his fishing show, so she video called him through Facebook.
As for concerns about her ability to run the country and be a mother, Arden said she was far from the first person to work and have a baby.”I am by no means the first woman to multitask,” she said.
Arden said she would take six weeks’ leave after birth and felt privileged her partner could stay at home to look after their child. She said she met Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters on Thursday and asked him to be acting prime minister while she is on maternity leave.
I fully intend to be contactable and available throughout the six-week period when needed,” she said.
“Mr Peters and I have a great relationship, and I know that together we’ll make this period work. I will make arrangements for appropriate ministers to act in my other portfolios over the six weeks I am away from Parliament.
“At the end of my leave I will resume all prime ministerial duties.”
On the rights of working women in the work place
In August, the day after she became leader of New Zealand’s Labor Party, Arden was questioned about her baby plans on radio
AM Show panelist Mark Richardson had said: “If you are the employer of a company you need to know that type of thing from the woman you are employing … the question is, is it OK for a PM to take maternity leave while in office?”
Arden hit back. “For other women, it is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace
It is the woman’s decision about when they choose to have children,” she said.
“It should not predetermine whether or not they get the job.”
“Knowing that so many parents juggle the care of their new babies, we consider ourselves to be very lucky.