New Zealand PM pregnant with first child

New Zealand's prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, will be the second elected world leader to give birth while in office, and the first to do so in almost 30 years

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

Ardern said she and her partner, Clarke Gayford, were expecting their child in June, after which she planned to take a six-week break.

"And we thought 2017 was a big year!" she wrote on Instagram.

Ardern, 37, who was sworn in to office in October, is now set to be the second elected world leader to give birth while in office - and the first to do so in almost 30 years.

“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 ‘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.”

In 1990, Pakistan’s then prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, gave birth to a daughter, in what was said to be a first for an elected world leader.

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.

Ardern became New Zealand's youngest prime minister since 1856 when she formed a centre-left coalition in October.

Ardern said she discovered her pregnancy only six days before learning she would be prime minister, and it was "100% a surprise".

"I am not the first woman to multi-task. I am not the first woman to work and have a baby - there are many women who have done this before," she said.

She was flooded with support after making the announcement on her social media profiles on Friday.

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 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.”

Two of New Zealand's former prime ministers were among the first to offer congratulations.

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.

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 really 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.” 

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