Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner, Clarke Gayford, have today announced that they are expecting their first child in June.
“We're both really happy. We wanted a family but weren't sure it would happen for us, which has made this news unexpected but exciting.
“Yesterday I met with Deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peters, to share the news and to ask him to take on the role of Acting Prime Minister for a period of 6 weeks after our baby is born.
“As is the case when I am overseas, Mr Peters will act as Prime Minister, working with my office while staying in touch with me. I fully intend to be contactable and available throughout the six week period when needed.
“Mr Peters and I have a great relationship, and I know that together we'll make this period work. I will make arrangements for appropriate Ministers to act in my other portfolios over the six weeks I am away from Parliament.
“At the end of my leave I will resume all Prime Ministerial duties.
“Clarke and I are privileged to be in the position where Clarke can stay home to be our primary caregiver. Knowing that so many parents juggle the care of their new babies, we consider ourselves to be very lucky.
“We consider ourselves lucky for another reason. Clarke and I have always been clear we wanted to be parents but had been told we would need help for that to happen. That's made this news a fantastic surprise.
“We first knew of my pregnancy on October, 13 but as many couples do in the early stages, we kept it to ourselves.
“From a personal perspective, I am so looking forward to my new role as a parent. But I am equally focused on my job and responsibilities as Prime Minister.
“While 2018 will be the year I become a mum, it will also be a year that the Government finishes our 100 day plan, and starts pursuing all of the priorities that will build a better New Zealand. I look forward to leading that work, and having a slightly expanded family join me on that journey. “
National Party Leader Bill English has extended his warm congratulations to Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford on their baby news.
“Mary and I would like to extend our sincere congratulations to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner Clarke Gayford on the news of the Prime Minister's pregnancy.
“It is an incredible privilege to be a parent. A new child will bring real joy to their lives.
“We wish them all the best.”