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NZ PM Ardern says she is pregnant

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden

Wellington: Jacinda Ardern, who became New Zealand's Prime Minister in October, attracted international attention when she denounced television interviewers who had asked whether she planned to have children if elected. Ardern, 37, told a television presenter that it was "unacceptable" for women in the workplace to have to answer that question.

On Thursday, Ardern announced that she was expecting her first child, due in June. She said her partner, Clarke Gayford, the host of a television show about fishing, would take a leave from his job after the birth to become a stay-at-home parent.

Although she would be the first New Zealand leader to give birth while in office, Ardern, at a news conference on Friday, played down the idea that her case was particularly special, saying that she was "not the first woman to multitask", nor the first "to work and have a baby".

But she admitted that her family's situation was unusual in some ways, saying that she had suffered "pretty bad" morning sickness during the first three months while forming a new government, and that she did not know "how the government cars would feel about having a baby seat in them".

Ardern said she planned to work right up until she gives birth and would then take six weeks of parental leave. During that time, she said, the deputy prime minister, Winston Peters, will assume her duties.

After that, Ardern added, she planned to return to "full duties," with Gayford travelling with her and their child as often as possible.

Ardern will be the first leader of New Zealand to take parental leave. Two other women have also served as the country's Prime Minister, Helen Clark of the Labour Party, who offered Ardern her congratulations on Friday, and Jenny Shipley of the National Party, who had children before she took office.

Shipley offered words of support on Friday, saying Ardern would be able to juggle the jobs of Prime Minister and parent.

"She'll also surround herself with smart people who'll help her do her job, and I think it's another, a groundbreaking, example of what women can do," Shipley said.

New York Times News Service

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