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Jacinda Ardern on baby news: 'I'll be Prime Minister and a mum'

Jacinda Ardern will step down as Prime Minister of New Zealand for six weeks when she has her first baby in June, but says she will still be "fully contactable and available".

She said her partner Clarke Gayford would be a "stay at home" dad.

"I think it's fair to say that this will be a wee one that a village will raise, but we couldn't be more excited. I know there will be lots of questions, and we'll answer all of them (I can assure you we have a plan all ready to go!)"

In a statement, Ardern confirmed deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters will take on the role of Acting Prime Minister for six weeks after the baby is born.

"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."

Ardern said she intended to be fully contactable and available throughout the six-week period.

Ardern said they first knew of the pregnancy in mid-October, "but as many couples do in the early stages, we kept it to ourselves".

She said the news was a "fantastic surprise".

The Green Party congratulated the couple.

"That a woman can be the Prime Minister of New Zealand and choose to have a family while in office says a lot about the kind of country we are, and that we can be: modern, progressive, inclusive, and equal," said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

"For that reason I know this announcement will be significant, for many women in particular, and that all New Zealanders will share in the Prime Minister's joy today."

The announcement makes Ardern one of the only head of state in recent times to be pregnant while in office.

A first for the western world, the only other recorded political head of government to give birth was Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto was elected Prime Minister in 1988 barely three months after giving birth to her first child.

And in 1990 she had another baby while she was prime minister.

She travelled in secret to hospital to give birth, returned to work very soon after and spent another eight months in government.

Prior to her, Queen Elizabeth II gave birth to Prince Andrew in 1960 and Prince Edward in 1964 after her ascension to the throne in 1952.

Queen Victoria, Catherine the Great and Cleopatra also became mothers while being leaders of their states.

SOURCE: Pacnews
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