Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is pregnant. The world is aware of it and many major overseas celebrities have congratulated her and Clarke Gayford.
The news that Labour leader Ms Ardern is pregnant might be old, but it is nonetheless popular. Ms Ardern and Mr Peters have been in contact. Mr Peters agreed to be Acting Prime Minister for the six week period where the Prime Minister is on a period of abbreviated maternity leave. Mr Peters will be in contact throughout the maternity leave to clear any major policy announcements and take on priority issues through out. The six weeks where Mr Peters will be Acting Prime Minister will be from 22 June 2018. The assumption is that a plan to transfer her political responsibilities to other cabinet and caucus members is being kept under wraps and will be announced nearer the time.
There have been critics of this day. I have seen accusations of a child being born out of wedlock, which were both hurting and insulting to anyone of repute. Some simply said they are concerned that Ms Ardern willl not be fully ready and not focus her undivided attention on being Prime Minister.
I think everything will be fine. Despite Ms Ardern being the first to have a baby whilst holding office, she is not the first office holder to have held office and been a parent to an infant at the same time. Others include Dame Jenny Shipley, who has a son and a daughter. Former Minister for Social Welfare, Ruth Richardson used to have her young child at Parliament. Likewise several other M.P’s in the current chamber have children who are now young adults or in their very late teens.
For women all over New Zealand, Ms Ardern announcing her pregnancy showed that even in the most coveted job in New Zealand politics, women are continuing to break barriers. Broadcaster Mark RIchardson questioned whether she planned to have children whilst Prime Minister, one of the few times in the election cycle Ms Ardern was genuinely annoyed, as Mr Richardson found out. His reaction to finding out she is pregnant was somewhat more restrained.
Ms Ardern may have given Labour a huge ideological boost by becoming pregnant. The working mother who found herself struggling to feed her child/ren, pay all the bills and keep a roof over their heads has been a common story. The story about the female Prime Minister who has been able to show up potentially higher paid, more skilled and more visible New Zealanders will be folklore for a while to come.