NZ PM Gives Birth: What You Need To Know

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has just had a baby girl. Here are the answers to some key questions:

SO HOW DID IT GO?

Ms Ardern went into labour on Thursday morning and gave birth to a healthy baby girl weighing 3.31kg (7.3lb) at 4.45pm.

IS THIS A WORLD FIRST?

In a way. Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto was the only other elected world leader to give birth while in office. She returned to work the day after having her second child in 1990, so Ms Ardern is the first to take maternity leave. By coincidence, Ms Ardern’s newborn and Ms Bhutto now share a birthday.

WAS IT PLANNED?

No. Ms Ardern, 37, only found out in the middle of negotiations to form a government last year – and had to deal with morning sickness during the process. She and her partner, fishing show presenter Clarke Gayford, 40, were told they’d need medical assistance and had given up earlier in the year. It’s their first child.
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Not really. New Zealand’s opposition politicians were largely quite supportive. The prime minister’s team laid out a plan from the start that pre-empted many concerns. However, there’s been a lot of talk about her temporary replacement, deputy PM Winston Peters, a highly experienced, but sometimes polarising figure. Most, including the opposition, aren’t predicting major issues though.

IS IT A BIG DEAL?

Both at home and abroad the pregnancy has been described as a major symbol and milestone for women. It’s also been the subject of global and local media attention unusual for New Zealand. Ms Ardern herself has played it down, saying lots of women have children while working. She’s argued she’s privileged to have strong support around her that many other mums don’t.

SO WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

The prime minister will take six weeks off – she technically handed over power when she got to the hospital – but will be on call for any major issues that may come up. The 73-year-old Mr Peters – who leads the populist NZ First party – will handle things in the meantime.

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