New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Takes Only Six Weeks Maternity Leave

She leads a political party that spearheaded an increase in paid parental leave, but New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will only take six weeks off after she gave birth to her first child.

The 37-year-old was admitted to Auckland Hospital on Thursday just after 6 a.m. and she posted on her Instagram page that she gave birth at 4.45 p.m. NZST.

"Welcome to our village wee one," she wrote, next to a picture of her and partner Clarke Gayford.

"Feeling very lucky to have a healthy baby girl that arrived at 4.45pm weighing 3.31kg (7.3lb). Thank you so much for your best wishes and your kindness. We're all doing really well thanks to the wonderful team at Auckland City hospital."

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is seen with her baby daughter and partner Clarke Gayford at Auckland City Hospital, in Auckland, New Zealand in this image taken June 21, 2018 obtained from social media. Courtesy Instagram @jacindaardern/ via REUTERS

Her duties as head of government will be handled by the country's Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, although she said she would remain in charge and read cabinet papers during her time away. She has said that Gayford, a television presenter, will become a stay-at-home father.

Ardern is eligible to take 18 weeks of maternity leave. One of the first things her Labour-led coalition did when it was sworn into office in October 2017 was to increase paid parental leave to 22 weeks, beginning in July. This will increase to 26 weeks from July 1, 2020.

Her return to work will not be as swift as French Justice Minister Rachida Dati who went back to work only five days after giving birth in 2009.

The last world leader to give birth while in office was the former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 1990. Coincidentally, Ardern's baby shares the same June 21 birthday as Bhutto.

Bhutto, who was assassinated in 2007, gave birth to her daughter Bakhtawar in January 1990, and also gave birth while out on the campaign trail in 1988.

New Zealand's parliament has baby-friendly policies with the Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard once looking after the child of a Labour MP while the country's parental leave bill was being debated, Stuff.co.nz reported.

This contrasts with Japan, where legislator Yuka Ogata was given an official warning for bringing her baby to a council session last year which she told The Guardian illustrated the obstacles some working mothers faced.

In 2000, British Prime Minister Tony Blair became the first serving prime minister to have a child while in office for 150 years when his wife Cherie Booth gave birth to Leo.

Messages of congratulations for Ardern and Gayford came from around the world. British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: "The whole of @UKLabour sends you our best wishes."

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd tweeted: "The whole world is wishing you well."

Helen Clark, who was the last woman to hold the post of New Zealand prime minister, tweeted: "What a proud day for Jacinda & Clarke & for us all. New life, new hope. Parenting arrangements are #genderequality in action. This is 21st C NZ."

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Takes Only Six Weeks Maternity Leave | World
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