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New Zealand PM says she's expecting her first baby
January 19 2018 10:59 AM
New Zealand PM
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner Clarke Gayford announce that they are expecting their first child, in Auckland on Friday.

AFP/Wellington

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Friday she is expecting her first baby, and is set to become the country's first leader to give birth while in office.
The 37-year-old, who was sworn in last October, made global headlines when she slapped down pre-election questions over whether she intended to start a family, insisting pregnancy had no bearing on a woman's career opportunities.
Ardern was all smiles on Friday as she appeared with partner Clarke Gayford at their home to announce the "unexpected but exciting" news of their first baby.
"Clark and I are really exited to share...that in June we are looking forward to welcoming our first child," she told reporters.
"We still have to get used to saying that out loud because we've been keeping that to ourselves for quite a long time."
The charismatic leader enjoyed a rapid rise to the top ranks of politics, winning office last year just months after taking the helm of the centre-left Labour Party.
"We thought 2017 was a big year!" she tweeted.
"This year we'll join the many parents who wear two hats. I'll be PM and a mum while Clarke will be 'first man of fishing' and stay at home dad."
Ardern said she would take six weeks off after the birth of her child, with maverick Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters taking the reins of office.
She said she aimed to be "contactable and available" during the period and would resume all leadership duties when it was over.
Ardern, who did not reveal whether she was expecting a boy or a girl, said she and Gayford previously had doubts they could conceive.
"Clarke and I have always been clear we wanted to be parents but had been told we would need help for that to happen," she said. 
"That's made this news a fantastic surprise."
She tweeted a picture of two large fishing hooks, one with a smaller hook inside it, in reference to Gayford's career as a television fishing show presenter.
While several male prime ministers have become parents in office -- including Britain's Tony Blair -- late Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto is believed to have been the first head of government to have given birth during her term, when she had a baby in 1990.
Ardern said "there's no doubt times have changed" making it possible for her to juggle motherhood and a high-profile political career.
But she played down suggestions she was a trailblazer.
"I am not the first woman to multitask. I am not the first woman to work and have a baby," she said.
"I know these are special circumstances, but there are many women who would have done this well before I have.
"There are plenty of women who carved a path incrementally to make it possible for people to look upon my time in leadership and think 'yes I can do the job and be a mother'."
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull offered his congratulations on the "wonderful news".
"When we spoke this morning you sounded more excited than you did when you won the election!" he tweeted.



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