Jacinda Ardern’s pregnancy announcement

Jacinda Ardern’s announcement yesterday that she was pregnant was big news, here in New Zealand of course but it also registered around the world.

First up – there is no reason at all why any woman, and any female politician, shouldn’t be able to manage work and a pregnancy and bringing up a child as long as they remain in good health, as most women having children do in the modern age. That includes the Prime Minister.

Ardern’s announcement:

And we thought 2017 was a big year! Clarke and I are really excited that in June our team will expand from two to three, and that we’ll be joining the many parents out there who wear two hats. I’ll be Prime Minister AND a mum, and Clarke will be “first man of fishing” and 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!) But for now, bring on 2018.

No automatic alt text available.

I thought that the fish hooks seemed a bit quaint given Clarke Gayford is into fishing, but they also have relevant symbolism in the Maori world.

Stuff: What’s with Ardern’s fish hooks? 

RNZ has details – As it happened: PM announces pregnancy

  • She made the announcement on Instagram first, then Twitter.
  • The baby is due in June.
  • Clarke Gayford will be a stay at home dad.
  • Winston Peters will take on the role of Acting Prime Minister for six weeks after the baby is born.
  • Ms Ardern said they found out about the pregnancy on Friday 13 October.
  • Politicians from at home and abroad are reaching out to congratulate the pair.
  • Social media users are also reaching out saying that it is “wonderful news”.
  • Ms Ardern said the baby will take Clarke’s last name.
  • Ms Ardern said it was a “happy surprise” and that she is not the first woman to “work and have a baby”.
  • The announcement makes Ms 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.
  • Ms Ardern said she intended to be fully contactable and available throughout the six-week period.

Ardern acknowledges “It will be tough”

Speaking to Five O’Clock Report, Ms Ardern said after that, Mr Gayford would be full-time caregiver, but would travel with her, so that “I can be present as much as I can but also make sure that I am doing my job”.

She was adapting quickly, hugely excited and said a plan was formed early on to make sure they were ready.

“Like many couples who make the decision over who’s carer and who’s going back to work, in our circumstances it just so happens to be me.

“I’m under no illusion, it will be tough. But together we’re ready and I have great support around me.”

Becoming a mother and adapting to being a parent, especially for women with careers, can be tough, but it is something that it’s a no brainer to support.

“For me I always knew I wanted kids. Because of my age I was often asked the question and I spoke honestly about wanting children.

I think though I started becoming a little bit more realistic about that prospect as I got older. And I’ve been open about the fact that we did get advice that we would need help in order for me to have a child,” she said.

“We put on hold all of that aspiration, all of that thinking the moment that I became leader of the Labour party.

“As it turned out, nature had other plans.”

Ms Ardern said it was exciting and unexpected.

The timing with last year’s election is coincidental. One could perhaps asked why Ardern didn’t take precautions (contraception) at such a big time for her political career, but one could also say ‘why should she?’.

“There’s a certain degree to which we can ‘t do our jobs without, unfortunately, as a by-product, having some of that life lived publicly for our child, who hasn’t chosen that.”

She and Mr Gayford would do their best to leave their child with choices in the future.

“But our lives are public and we’ll be sharing this with New Zealand.”

This is going to be one of the biggest challenges for Ardern and Gayford. There will be no avoiding intense media attention – this is unprecedented in New Zealand, and could be likened to a royal baby in the UK. I can’t remember a big fuss over babies here since the Lawson quins were born in the 1960s.

She did not see any problem with deputy prime minister Winston Peters in the role of acting prime minister.

“Minister Peters and New Zealand First are in a coalition with Labour, they sit around the Cabinet table with us … and so this will just change who sits at the helm during that period.”

One could query the validity of a 7% leader being Prime Minister (acting), but Peters is more experienced than any other MP so should be able to manage it.

Government is more than one person, it is a Cabinet led by a Prime Minister. It should be able to function perfectly adequately without the presence of the PM – in fact it already does at times the PM is out of the country.

This is excellent news for Ardern and Gayford. It will be over-reported, but if that can be managed then it should be a special time for them, first children always are.

And the country should manage fine.

Previous Post

55 Comments

  1. Westie Bob

     /  January 20, 2018

    So the appointment of Ross Ardern to High Commissioner of Tokelau by Winston, which means he can move back to Auckland, is just a coincidence.

    • Blazer

       /  January 20, 2018

      Ross Adern has been free to move back to Auckland…any time he wants.

  2. artcroft

     /  January 20, 2018

    I just hope the media keep it in perspective. We don’t need a celebrity royal family in NZ.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  January 20, 2018

      Media? Perspective? Some hope.

    • Blazer

       /  January 20, 2018

      we just had one…

    • PartisanZ

       /  January 20, 2018

      artcroft, recent history (let alone ancient history) proves beyond any shadow of doubt that ‘we’ collectively do need “celebrity royalty” in Aotearoa NZ [and everywhere]

      … I’d start a list only … Richie McCaw, Lorraine Downes, Rachel Hunter … need I go on?

      This is the collective ‘we’ I’m talking about, the one we’re all so familiar with … Who didn’t vote National, never watch dum-de-da TV and never buy Woman’s Weekly …

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  January 20, 2018

    I thought mothers needed six months parental leave according to the Left?

    • Blazer

       /  January 20, 2018

      do you not know what a ‘house husband’ is….parents=2people.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  January 20, 2018

        Waiting to see him breastfeed.

        • Blazer

           /  January 20, 2018

          and you call yourself…a scientist!

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  January 20, 2018

            I certainly don’t call you one.

            • Blazer

               /  January 20, 2018

              wow…I’m not one…you give them a ..bad name.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  January 20, 2018

              Go on. I’m sure you can hate scientists without my help, B.

        • Pickled Possum

           /  January 20, 2018

          Morena Al Hope your place is AOK after the ‘storm’. Regarding breastfeeding we have a process called ‘expressing milk’ putting it in the fridge till needed by the ‘house husband at the required time.

    • To me it’s all aoit the time she takes off and the apparent family branding exercise.

      If Ms Ardern intended to take 6 months off and still deceived the nation as she clearly did, rather than the intended 6 weeks proposed absence, would this be worse? Her tenure and legacy as PM is hinging on this being a text book normal pregnancy and birth and that she has a healthy post partum period. Hope it is, as I cannot bear the seven per enter aging Pensioner from Herne Bay as PM for a day more than six weeks.

      Most women on earth have a baby and nearly all of them deliver with ease and most of us even work shortly after our deliveries . On a one percent salary north of Five hundred k, the Ardern child will have nannies and all manner of domestic assistance and I have no doubt Mum will return as she says she does.

      Over the fishhooks, the fawning, Duncan Garner and his open letter, the whole royal baby, stand up Presser scenario already. Business as usual like the rest of us please.

      • Keyboard stuck for numbers there

        😫😫

      • Patzcuaro

         /  January 20, 2018

        Grinch?

        • PartisanZ

           /  January 20, 2018

          Question mark …?

        • She’s the Prme Minister. Let her have her beautiful, loved and wanted baby like billions before her have and then let her return and do her job. Turning this baby birth into an event can only help out the tabloids and women’s mags. Looking more like the crass Kardashians than any sort of liberal trailblazing event to me.

          • PartisanZ

             /  January 20, 2018

            Max Key … ?

            • PartisanZ

               /  January 20, 2018

              Governments “help out” sectors of the economy in all sorts of ways …

              Rugby World Cups? America’s Cup yacht races? …. ?

              Roads of National Significance …

  4. David

     /  January 20, 2018

    At least she has some experience now for at least one of her jobs, managing Twyford is good training for the terrible two,s.
    I dont believe the 6 weeks off either, optimistic at best.

  5. sorethumb

     /  January 20, 2018
    • PartisanZ

       /  January 20, 2018

      Personally I’m convinced that some and perhaps most people’s careers are based on somehow expressing their inner integrity – at least to a greater or lesser degree – while others’ careers are based on first identifying a target market and then playing a specific marketing role to a select audience, regardless of the ethics and sincerity of the role …?

  6. sorethumb

     /  January 20, 2018

    I think what we are seeing in this country (more so) is disparate forces fighting for position. Politics has sunk to the level of local politics. The ratio of issues to buttons (that can be pushed) has shrunk. We have diversity without unity (when – in the past – did we need a race relations conciliator?). Key groups control the media.

    • PartisanZ

       /  January 20, 2018

      … the fighting is less violent (evidence 1951, 1981) … the positions less definite … the localism much healthier [politics, like food, should be sourced ‘locally’] … “The ratio of issues to buttons” is totally personal in a msm/sm world and hence almost irrelevant here …

      We have realistic diversity without imaginary unity … whereas before we had imaginary unity without real unity … and key groups control the media as they have always done … the State, Corporations and, notably today, the Corporate State …

      Things are better than they were and overall trending in the right ethical direction … unfortunately by minuscule steps as currently dictated by the Corporate State …

      One day we will be free …

  7. Trevors_Elbow

     /  January 20, 2018

    Congrats. Now lets get back to policy formulation and execution.

    • PartisanZ

       /  January 20, 2018

      It’s the weekend … enjoy the vibe in the country-side … revel in the goodwill …

  8. unitedtribes2

     /  January 20, 2018

    I wonder how this will work out for W P. Most voters don’t want him in parliament let alone PM. He has a track record of dominating his own team and this could lead to inter party ructions. Some of the small print in the hidden 30 page document may become more transparent now. There is not much loss with Jacinda being on leave as her roll was mostly being done by experienced people anyway but if she is out of play for longer her danger and the danger to the coalition will be WP not the baby.

  9. Gezza

     /  January 20, 2018

    Look if it doesn’t work out well there’s another election in 2020 & we can change the government (unless we decide to be prats & not vote).

    Up until then we have another novel situation in NZ politics, a PM to probably observe & read about in excruciatingly intense selfie celebrity family detail. A family that will have little in common with the average kiwi battler’s family situation.

    Modern politics in the selfie Twitter world.

  10. Corky

     /  January 20, 2018

    ”There is no reason at all why any woman, and any female politician, shouldn’t be able to manage work and a pregnancy and bringing up a child as long as they remain in good health, as most women having children do in the modern age. That includes the Prime Minister.”

    Sorry Pete. I have to disagree. The job is too important to have split loyalties..especially in these times of uncertain global stability. I want an PM with her mind on the job during a crisis.
    Not worrying that her baby is running a temp and not feeding.

    • Gezza

       /  January 20, 2018

      How many billions of parents get on with doing their jobs while being concerned that their baby is running a temperature & not feeding, but knowing their stay at home partner will deal with it. Women are better at multi-tasking anyway.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  January 20, 2018

        Rubbish. Women are not better at multitasking. Just talking, like the Irish. Actually only at quantity rather than quality.

    • So you want a PM with no family, no financial interests, no party connections, and no job commitments in case there is a crisis (a rare event)?

      • -D

         /  January 20, 2018

        That’s pretty extreme Pete. There is a world of difference between “having a family” as, say, Bill English does, and bearing your first child while at the same time trying to break yourself into a hugely demanding new job that you are only marginally qualified (other than by popularity) for.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  January 20, 2018

          The multitasking thing is nonsense and has been thoroughly debunked. There is no evidence that women are better at this than men. How could we be ? Some women are stupid and disorganised, some aren’t-we are all human beings and being male or female doesn’t mean that we are automatically better at such things. One of the best organisers I have ever known was a man.

          The difference between Jacinda Ardern and others is that she is the Prime Minister, possibly the most demanding job in the country, Her timing is terrible. She is smug about carrying on with morning sickness-what if she is like the women who need to be admitted to hospital for this ? I wonder if she has any idea what being a Prime Minister really means.

          • Gezza

             /  January 20, 2018

            I think it’s more important her finding out what being a mother means.
            The rest of it doesn’t worry me.

            I know this situation is hard on you Kitty but I’m sure you’ll cope.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  January 20, 2018

              She was elected as party leader, not as a mother. She is paid a very large salary to be the PM. People wouldn’t make these excuses for a man; why make them for a woman ? It has nothing to do with me personally, but I feel that the country has been short-changed. What if there is an international crisis-or a national one-and Auntie Winnie’s in charge ?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  January 20, 2018

              She is paid a very large salary to be PM, not to find out about being a mother, It would be just as unreasonable to expect a mother to work at being PM for no money.

          • Blazer

             /  January 20, 2018

            ‘ I wonder if she has any idea what being a Prime Minister really means.’…and I wonder if you have any idea of what being a mother…means.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  January 20, 2018

              Oh, don’t start. You know nothing about me. I am not the Prime Minister and taking a large salary from the taxpayer, so what I am or am not is totally irrelevant to anything. My private life is none of your business.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  January 20, 2018

              Ah, Blazer, Blazer, Blazer, Blazer,
              Sharpwitted as a bladeless razor.

      • I want an honest one.

        From what I have seen there is plenty to indicate that Ms Ardern tends to leave inconvenient facts out. She might have told us that she was that keen for children that she was actively trying. As it is, there’s now a possibility she’s set things back for women There’s a case here to say that every bigot in NZ has had their worst (and stupid to my mind) fears realised. That is, a woman of child-bearing age takes a job then publicly lib-shames anyone who dares ask her questions about her fecundity. She is meanwhile actually pregnant, absolutely knows it when she goes to the GG to form a government and her hapless employers (us) have to suck an AOL and get lumbered with an angry tedious and often slurring Winston Peters while she bonds with bubs.