World watches for spe­cial baby

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern was in hos­pi­tal yes­ter­day to give birth to her first child.

The Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice con­firmed Ardern ar­rived at Auck­land City Hos­pi­tal at 5.50am yes­ter­day with her part­ner, Clarke Gay­ford, to have her baby.

This will be the 37-yearold’s first child.

With Ardern in hos­pi­tal, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Win­ston Peters took 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’’.

In one of the ninth-floor birthing suites at the hos­pi­tal, she was in good com­pany – 6974 ba­bies were born at Auck­land City Hos­pi­tal in 2017. It was un­der­stood the coun­try would get a chance to see the new baby briefly.

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 posted their well wishes for Ardern, Gay­ford and their baby on so­cial me­dia. And the re­ac­tion from the world was swift.

The New York Times re­ported 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 on to 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 plans to take six weeks off work. When she re­turns to work, Gay­ford will take up the role of full­time stay-at-home dad.

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