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New Zealand's Prime Minister Ready To Return To Duties After Maternity Leave

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford pose with their baby daughter Neve Gayford at their home on Thursday in Auckland, New Zealand.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford pose with their baby daughter Neve Gayford at their home on Thursday in Auckland, New Zealand.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will be back on the job soon, after taking six weeks of maternity leave.

Ardern, who assumed office in October, is only the second sitting world leader in modern times to give birth while in office, after Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto. Ardern announced in January that she would temporarily step aside, leaving her duties while on leave to Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters.

On June 21, Ardern gave birth to her first child, a girl that she and partner Clarke Gayford named Neve Gayford.

"Looking forward to getting back on deck," Ardern said on Facebook Live last week.

"Looking forward to talking about things like employment, mental health, the economy and the environment. Things that have always been important to us," she said.

The New Zealand Herald notes, "Ardern will return as the teachers are due to strike, the nurses already have, the Government remains at loggerheads with Australia over the deportations policy and the inquiry into the appointment of deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha awaits."

The newspaper says she also resumes her duties amid "slumps in business confidence and warnings of an economic slowdown globally."

In a television interview, Ardern said, like other parents, she has been "so focused on food, nappies and sleep."

How does she feel about going back to Parliament? "I understand how acute it will feel," Ardern told New Zealand Focus. "But, equally, I think lots of parents feel guilt that either they're not doing enough in their parenting role or they're not doing enough in their 9 to 5 role. There is guilt behind every door."

New Zealand's Parliament Speaker Trevor Mallard has already laid down strict rules for media coverage of the baby.

According to the Herald, "After speaking to Ardern, Mallard has issued a warning to political media that any filming or taking photos of Neve, even if inadvertent, could result in being stripped of their right to be at Parliament."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: August 2, 2018 at 12:00 AM EDT
A previous version of this story misidentified the name of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's partner as Clarke Gaylord. He is Clarke Gayford.

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