New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has gone into labour

Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arder is at hospital to give birth.

The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed Ardern arrived at Auckland hospital at 5.50am on Thursday morning with her partner Clarke Gayford to have her baby.

This will be the 37-year-old’s first child.

With Ardern in hospital, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters had taken up the role of acting prime minister.

Peters said it was “a happy day and on behalf of the coalition government we wish her and Clarke all the very best.”

Ardern revealed she was pregnant in January, saying she and Gayford wanted a family “but weren’t sure it would happen for us, which has made this news unexpected but exciting”. The pair had been told they would need help to conceive.

Leader of the House Chris Hipkins offered the PM the best wishes of the Labour Party.

He said Ardern found herself in an unusual position, having media waiting outside the hospital, and the world watching.

“We are all very proud of her,” he said.

National Party deputy leader Paula Bennett said the party wished the prime minister and the baby good health, and all the best.

Kiwis had been posting their well wishes for Ardern, Gayford and their baby on social media.

The reaction from the world had been swift.

The New York Times got off to a quick start, reporting soon after the announcement: Ardern’s “youth and surprise rise to power have made her a global celebrity”, it said. Ardern’s pregnancy had prompted a national conversation about working mothers.

The Australians were also onto the development fast.

Sky News Australia had a “Just In’ tweet, while ABC News also had an early tweet.

Nine News Australia said the baby would be a significant moment for New Zealand.

“Although she will become the first elected world leader to take maternity leave – and only the second to have a child while in office – Ms Ardern has played down the significant global attention she’s received as a role model,” it said.

The prime minister discovered she was pregnant during coalition negotiations in October, but waited until January 19 to share the news with the country.

She planned to take six weeks off work.

Acting PM

Ardern sent Peters a letter in May, outlining his responsibilities while in the role of acting prime minister.

These day-to-day responsibilities included chairing Cabinet, directing officials from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, overseeing the policy programme, answering questions directed to the prime minister, and attending official engagements.

Ardern said she would still be contactable, should any urgent situation arise.

When she returned to work, following the six weeks of leave, Gayford would take up the role of full-time stay-at-home dad.

Ardern would be the first New Zealand PM to give birth during her time in office, but not the first one worldwide. Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto had her first child in 1990 while in office.

This first appeared at Stuff.co.nz. See the original here.

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