New Zealand PM to stay on the job until just before giving birth

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern released on Tuesday details surrounding the birth of her first child expected in mid-June, revealing she will not hand over duties to her deputy until just before the baby is born.

A statement released by Ardern’s office said Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters will step in as acting prime minister “at the point that Jacinda Ardern arrives at hospital.”

Peters, who is also the country’s foreign minister, has agreed to consult Ardern on any “significant” matters during her six weeks of maternity leave.

Together with partner Clarke Gayford, Ardern, 37, plans to announce the birth personally and does not intend to give any exclusive interviews or photo opportunities prior to her return to work.

(PM Jacinda Ardern, right, and her partner Clarke Gayford)

“While the couple are happy to share with the public some moments with their new baby, they ask that media respect the family’s privacy in the weeks set aside to be together after the birth, and during private family moments,” the statement read.

Following Ardern’s return to work, Gayford — a television presenter — will be a stay-at-home dad.

Despite being less than two weeks away from the baby’s June 17 due date, Ardern recently told local media that the couple have yet to settle on a name.

“It’s one of those things where Clarke’s absolutely convinced it will come to us as soon as it arrives,” Ardern told Newshub.

“I think we’ll be sleep-deprived and probably angry at each other (after the baby is born), so I don’t think that’s the best time to choose,” she added.

New Zealanders have overwhelmingly responded positively to Ardern’s pregnancy, which she disclosed on social media in January.

Ardern took office as prime minister in October, becoming the youngest female head of government in the world. She will be the second woman to give birth while serving as prime minister, after Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan’s prime minister in the 1980s and 1990s.

All – Kyodo News+

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