Ardern became only the second leader of a country to have a baby while in office when she gave birth to her daughter Neve on 21 June
Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand prime minister, returned to work on Thursday, six weeks after giving birth to her first child.
Ardern became only the second leader of a country to have a baby while in office when she gave birth to her daughter Neve on 21 June. When she announced her pregnancy, shortly after becoming prime minister last year, she said she would take six weeks of maternity leave.
Ardern spent Thursday speaking to media at her and partner Clarke Gayfords home in suburban Auckland.
She told Radio New Zealand that she was aware of the example that she was setting for other parents in returning to work so soon after the birth of her first child.
Im privileged, Im very very lucky, Ardern said. I have a partner who can be there alongside me, whos taking up a huge part of that joint responsibility because hes a parent too, hes not a babysitter.
She said she would take Neve with her while on prime ministerial duties, including to New York next month to speak at the United Nations.
Through all of this its been about how do we meet Neves interests, but make sure that Im not compromising in the way that Im doing my job as well, Ardern told Stuff. Ardern described her maternity leave as a gift to TVNZ.
Im ready and very keen to get back to work. I always expected, given [Neve] is still so young and so small, that there would be a real tension there between making sure I was meeting all of her needs and of course my responsibilities.
But I am confident with all of the support Im very lucky to have, that we will absolutely make it work.
Ardern officially took back the reins from her deputy Winston Peters at midnight.
Speaker Trevor Mallard reportedly reminded some media to respect Neves right to privacy and to avoid taking unauthorised photos or face losing their parliamentary accreditation. The family will move into the official prime ministerial residence, Premier House, near the Beehive in Wellington next week.
While Ardern was on leave Peters a 72-year-old veteran politician who is in the process of suing several top government officials for allegedly leaking his personal information took over.
Most New Zealanders did not know what to expect from the controversial figure, who ensured that Arderns Labour party won last years general election when he and his New Zealand First party threw their support behind a centre-left coalition.
Ardern has kept a low profile while on leave, apart from sharing a few videos on Facebook, including one in which she welcomed sweeping government reform for families in a video filmed while she was sitting on her sofa, cradling Neve.
In contrast, Peters short tenure was marked by drama.
He called out Australia several times, saying the country was failing to live up to its obligations as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by detaining a 17-year-old New Zealand minor in a Melbourne detention centre.
Peters also told Australia to change its flag, claiming it had copied New Zealands flag decades after it created its design with a Union Jack alongside a Southern Cross constellation. He suggested Australia could instead create a flag featuring a kangaroo on it as well as changing its national anthem to Waltzing Matilda.
He was also on deck as nurses across the country went on strike. Hospitals cancelled elective surgeries and discharged patients early after 30,000 nurses walked off the job in the first such nationwide strike in 30 years. Peters said there was no more money in the government coffers for a higher pay offer.
And he raised eyebrows on talkback radio when he said he did not like the notion of a multicultural New Zealand.
Its not a multitude of cultures and a plethora rising up like mushrooms in this country, he said. No, we want a New Zealand culture. Thats what Ive always stood for.
On Wednesday, his last day as acting prime minister, Peters fat-shamed a colleague in the middle of a parliamentary debate, calling on the Speaker of the House to throw fatty out of parliament.