New Zealand Prime Minister’s Pregnancy Reveal Receives Mixed Reactions

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s current prime minister, announced her pregnancy on January 19th, 2018 to a mixture of support and backlash from the public.

Ardern, who was sworn into office in October of 2017, shared in a Facebook post that she and her partner, a television presenter on “Fish of the Day”, Clarke Gayford, are expecting in June, according to The Guardian.

“I’ll be prime minister AND a mum, and Clarke will be ‘first man of fishing’ and stay at home dad. I think it’s fair to say that this will be a wee one that a village will raise, but we couldn’t be more excited,” wrote Ardern.

The 37-year-old will be taking a six week maternity leave after the baby is born, during which the Deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peters, will take over. In a press release from her office, Ardern assured the public that she intends to be fully contactable while away from Parliament.

"I am not the first woman to multi-task. I am not the first woman to work and have a baby - there are many women who have done this before," said Ardern, according to The BBC.

World leaders, former prime ministers and fellow party leaders congratulated the couple, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and New Zealand’s Green party leader, James Shaw.

“That a woman can be the prime minister of New Zealand and choose to have a family while in office says a lot about the kind of country we are and that we can be – modern, progressive, inclusive, and equal,” said Shaw, according to The Guardian.

The BBC reported the flood of support Ardern received from the online community on her social media. Yet, numerous negative comments were also posted in response to The Washington Post’s story about Ardern.

The online comments, many of which were apparently posted by men, attacked the Prime Minister’s marital status, her ability to keep her feelings under control, and the amount of time she is taking off, according to The Washington Post.

“She should resign ASAP and focus on family. She is ineligible to govern great country like NZ,” according to therealist open.

“I guess millennial world leaders don’t feel it’s important to get married first,” according to muad dib.

In addition, UK columnist Liz Jones expressed her disapproval of Ardern’s announcement in her opinion piece for the Daily Mail.

“Oh please! Giving birth months after winning an election isn’t multi-tasking. It’s more a betrayal of voters…,” wrote Jones. “...What will a new mum PM do? Hurry back from Waitrose, wailing: ‘I’m sorry I missed Armageddon, but we’d run out of organic Ella’s Kitchen’?”

Ardern defended herself against Jones on the AM Show and made it clear that she is going to do everything she can to make it work, according to newshub.

“I'd hope that maybe she'd asked a few New Zealand voters before she decided on their behalf,” said Ardern. “The role of Prime Minister is a privilege I don't take for granted which is why we're making sure that we have a good plan in place so that I don't let anyone down, and we don't let anyone down.”

What do you think about the reactions to Ardern’s pregnancy? Let us know in the comments below!

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