Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Prime Minister made history this week for being the very first world leader to attend a United Nations General Assembly meeting along with her baby. She took her three-month-old daughter to the General Assembly meeting that was being held on Monday evening, and she also managed to play with her before she gave her speech at the Nelson Mandela peace summit. While Ardern was giving her speech, her partner, Clarke Gayford, held the little baby in his lap.
Neve Te Aroha, Ardern’s daughter, was born on June 21st, at Auckland Hospital. Ardern took her six weeks of maternity leave before she returned to work early in August. Since Ardern is still breastfeeding her daughter, Neve had to travel along with her mother to New York for the meeting.
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During an interview with the Today show, Ardern was asked whether it was more difficult to take her daughter with her on a 17-hour flight or to govern over New Zealand. To this, Ardern responded that she felt both jobs were around the same level of difficulty, except for the fact that she had to apologize to the fellow passengers in advance. According to the Prime Minister, doing her job and being a parent had met all of her expectations. However, the joy of having a daughter actually far surpassed all of her previous expectations.
Clarke Gayford, Ardern’s partner, is a fishing TV presenter and their daughter’s primary carer. That’s why he had to travel with Ardern to New York and look after their baby. In fact, it was just last week that New Zealand tweaked their rules, so they could allow the prime minister to travel on overseas assignments with a nanny and have all of that covered by their taxpayers. However, Ardern cleared things up by saying that Gayford’s ticket and other expenses were going to be paid out of their pocket because there weren’t too many official spousal engagements that her partner had to attend. Which meant that most of his time would be spent in taking care of the baby.
Ardern has extensively talked about her privilege of being able to take Neve to work since there weren’t a lot of places where parents are allowed to do so. She has also talked about the fortunate circumstances that allow her to raise Neve as well as continue working as a Prime Minister, which she is hoping will be the norm for women one day.