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PM Ardern talks about her big task ahead

The New Zealand Herald - - Front Page - Claire Trevett pol­i­tics

Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern will soon be try­ing to win over the board­rooms but for now she is in her San­dring­ham house sur­rounded by the usual para­pher­na­lia of a new­born baby.

A pink flan­nel sits aban­doned on the win­dow sill next to the sofa, boxes on the floor are loaded with blan­kets, bean­ies and the ac­cou­trements of breast­feed­ing.

As Ardern sits down for the in­ter­view, her part­ner Clarke Gay­ford makes a cup of tea in the back­ground.

Ardern wor­ries a breast pump might be in shot and then peeks in the Frozen bag from the Her­ald which has hand-made cards and a gift for their daugh­ter Neve from read­ers.

The sto­ries too are the usual new­born ones.

Ardern and Gay­ford share the load of the night time wake-ups, but Gay­ford is ahead on nappy changes. He has taken the time-sav­ing step of giv­ing up shav­ing and now has a lux­u­ri­ant beard.

His fish­ing boat does not get quite as much use as it once did.

Asked what caught her by sur­prise about moth­er­hood, Ardern heads straight to the poo talk.

“That a baby can go so long without poo­ing. There you go. That’s the first thing that came to mind. I did not ex­pect that. Ap­par­ently com­pletely nor­mal as well.”

The messi­est in­ci­dent was the op­po­site prob­lem.

“The Poon­ami” is sig­nif­i­cant enough oc­ca­sion to war­rant pro­nounc­ing as if it had cap­i­tals.

“It is just as it sounds. Ev­ery­thing com­ing at once.”

The only re­sponse was pro­longed laugh­ter and a mop-up.

Ardern, Gay­ford and Neve along with two grand­moth­ers on ro­tate will go to Welling­ton to set­tle into Pre­mier House.

On Mon­day, Ardern will go back to the 9th floor of the Bee­hive, which now has a

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 nine-to-five role.

Jacinda Ardern

chang­ing ta­ble and cot.

Asked about that moment when she has to walk out of the door and leave Neve with Gay­ford, Ardern says she is used to the idea but knows there is a store of guilt ahead of her.

“I un­der­stand how acute it will feel. But 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 nine-to-five role.

“There is guilt be­hind ev­ery door. I am def­i­nitely aware of that. We can’t do ev­ery­thing. The best we can do is make the best of it.”

Ardern’s job is more than nine to five and she is also head­ing back into some­thing of a po­lit­i­cal poon­ami.

The teach­ers are due to strike, the nurses al­ready have and the Gov­ern­ment re­mains at log­ger­heads with Aus­tralia over the de­por­ta­tions pol­icy. The in­quiry into the ap­point­ment of Deputy Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Wally Haumaha awaits.

The most wor­ry­ing item on the to-do list is deal­ing with the econ­omy — or at least con­cerns of busi­ness.

Na­tional has wrought some havoc with slumps in busi­ness con­fi­dence num­bers and warn­ings of an eco­nomic slow­down glob­ally.

Ardern says she will move into “stage two” of Labour’s plan — and first off the blocks will be ad­dress­ing busi­ness con­fi­dence. “We are in good shape, but for me per­cep­tion mat­ters too, so I re­ally want to tackle that.”

She is wary of

Neve’s pri­vacy. No photographs are al­lowed and in­stead four pho­tos are pro­vided of the fam­ily. Neve’s face is ob­scured in all. But as the in­ter­view ended, in the back­ground a high­pitched coo­ing could be heard. Ardern says it is Gay­ford. “He used to talk to Pad­dles [the cat] like that too.”

Neve has wo­ken up from a nap and is brought out by Gay­ford for an in­tro­duc­tion.

Ardern cra­dles her and Neve blinks back. Ardern coos to her, “I’m sorry for talk­ing about your poo.”

Clarke Gay­ford sports a lux­u­ri­ant beard as he holds baby Neve with Jacinda Ardern.

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