Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced her and her partner Clarke Gayford are expecting their first child in June.
Ardern has released the following statement:
“We’re both really happy. We wanted a family but weren’t sure it would happen for us, which has made this news unexpected but exciting.
“Yesterday I met with Deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peters, to share the news and to ask him to take on the role of Acting Prime Minister for a period of 6 weeks after our baby is born.
“As is the case when I am overseas, Mr Peters will act as Prime Minister, working with my office while staying in touch with me. I fully intend to be contactable and available throughout the six week period when needed.
“Mr Peters and I have a great relationship, and I know that together we’ll make this period work. I will make arrangements for appropriate Ministers to act in my other portfolios over the six weeks I am away from Parliament.
“At the end of my leave I will resume all Prime Ministerial duties.
“Clarke and I are privileged to be in the position where Clarke can stay home to be our primary caregiver. Knowing that so many parents juggle the care of their new babies, we consider ourselves to be very lucky.
“We consider ourselves lucky for another reason. Clarke and I have always been clear we wanted to be parents but had been told we would need help for that to happen. That’s made this news a fantastic surprise.
“We first knew of my pregnancy on the 13th of October, but as many couples do in the early stages, we kept it to ourselves.
“From a personal perspective, I am so looking forward to my new role as a parent. But I am equally focused on my job and responsibilities as Prime Minister.
“While 2018 will be the year I become a mum, it will also be a year that the Government finishes our 100 day plan, and starts pursuing all of the priorities that will build a better New Zealand. I look forward to leading that work, and having a slightly expanded family join me on that journey."
She also made the following tweet.
We thought 2017 was a big year! This year we’ll join the many parents who wear two hats. I’ll be PM & a mum while Clarke will be “first man of fishing” & stay at home dad. There will be lots of questions (I can assure you we have a plan all ready to go!) but for now bring on 2018 pic.twitter.com/nowAYOhAbF— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) January 18, 2018
Here's a press release from Winston Peters.
New Zealand First Leader congratulates PM
New Zealand First Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has congratulated the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford on news of her pregnancy.
“On behalf of my New Zealand First colleagues we wish the Prime Minister and her partner every joy during the next several months as they adapt to a new challenge,” says Mr Peters.
“Ours is a novel coalition in many respects and the Prime Minister’s announcement only reinforces its unique qualities. We are committed to supporting the Prime Minister during the months ahead to continue to provide a good and stable government. We understand that no matter what level a person operates on family life is important,” he says.
And here's a press release from National Party leader Bill English.
Bill English congratulates PM
National Party Leader Bill English has extended his warm congratulations to Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford on their baby news.
“Mary and I would like to extend our sincere congratulations to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner Clarke Gayford on the news of the Prime Minister's pregnancy.
“It is an incredible privilege to be a parent. A new child will bring real joy to their lives.
“We wish them all the best.”