New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern to stay put as birth nears

In this May 22, 2018 photo, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, right, addresses Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand. Ardern said Monday, June 11, 2018 she plans to remain within driving distance of Auckland for the rest of this week as she prepares to give birth. (AP Photo/Nick Perry)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday she plans to remain within driving distance of Auckland for the rest of this week as she prepares to give birth.

Ardern made the comments in Wellington before leaving for her home city. Her baby is due Sunday and would be the first child for her and partner Clarke Gayford.

The 37-year-old would become just the second world leader in modern times to give birth while in office, after the late Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto gave birth to daughter Bakhtawar in 1990.

Ardern said somebody suggested her rigorous travel schedule may be "tempting fate" and that it made sense for her to be grounded in one place.

"The impending arrival of a new addition to your family is an exciting time," she said. "I have to admit though, of course, things like travel does add a little air of tension, because it means that you're not just managing your own, you're managing logistics in case things happen before you're ready."

Ardern plans to work up until the birth and then take a six-week leave of absence, during which time Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters will fill in as acting leader. Under the arrangement, Ardern would still be consulted on major decisions including issues of national security.

Ardern said she was confident the government would continue to run smoothly in her absence.

She said she's planning to have the baby at Auckland Hospital and hoped to be "sharing the good news" in an announcement but also to have some quiet time to enjoy as a family.

Ardern has not said whether she's expecting a boy or a girl.

Asked how the couple had been faring trying to choose a name, Ardern responded: "Terribly. Do you have any suggestions?"

People also read these

Indonesia president lands in Sydney on first...

Feb 25, 2017

Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo arrived in Sydney on Saturday on his first visit to...

Powerful cyclone slams into Australia's tropical...

Mar 28, 2017

A powerful cyclone has slammed into Australia's tropical northeast coast, tearing down trees and...

Australia pledges support during Afghan...

Apr 3, 2017

Australia has pledged ongoing support to Afghanistan during a visit by the Afghan president, after...

Nauru president: Australia's refugee policy...

Apr 6, 2017

Nauru's president said Australia's policy of sending asylum seekers to his nation was "working...

Australian police closer to deciding Vatican...

May 17, 2017

Australian police say they are closer to deciding whether to charge a top Vatican cardinal over...

Sign up now!

Three Sixty Press is your general news coverage keeping you up-to-date with the vast news in the world.

Contact us: sales[at]threesixtypress.com