Sunday 15 September 2019

'I'm very lucky' - New Zealand's PM celebrates birth of daughter

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with her baby daughter and partner Clarke Gayford. Photo: Reuters
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with her baby daughter and partner Clarke Gayford. Photo: Reuters

Danny Boyle

Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand prime minister, has given birth to a girl. Her first child was born weighing 7lb 3oz at Auckland City Hospital yesterday.

The 37-year-old has become only the second elected world leader to give birth while in office.

"I'm sure we're going through all of the emotions new parents go through, but at the same time feeling so grateful for all the kindness and best wishes from so many people. Thank you," Ms Ardern said in a statement.

She added that both mother and daughter are doing well, as she praised medical staff.

Posting a picture on Instagram with her partner Clarke Gayford (40) and their new baby in hospital, Ms Ardern said she was "feeling very lucky".

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has now taken over as acting prime minister. However, Ms Ardern said she would remain in charge by continuing to read cabinet papers during her time away from office.

The leader plans to take six weeks of maternity leave before returning to work.


Such is her dedication to work that Mr Gayford, a television presenter, posted a picture on Twitter of Ms Ardern continuing to read official papers in the hours before she gave birth.

Ms Ardern, who was elected in October, revealed in January that she and Mr Gayford were expecting their first child.

The first world leader to give birth while in office in modern times was Benazir Bhutto, the late former prime minister of Pakistan, in January 1990.

But Ms Ardern previously downplayed the significance of having a baby while in office.

"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 multi-tasked before me, and I want to acknowledge that."

The birth capped an eventful year for Ms Ardern, who became prime minister three months after inheriting the leadership of the Labour Party when it was languishing in the polls.

Congratulations quickly flooded in from around the world and across the political spectrum, with New Zealand opposition leader Simon Bridges among those to offer his congratulations.

"Being parents is a joy and a privilege and we are sure your new arrival will fill your lives with all the happiness our children have ours," he said. (© Daily Telegraph London)

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