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NZ PM Ardern returns from maternity leave

NZ PM Ardern returns from maternity leave

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has returned to work after spending "the fastest six weeks" of her life on maternity leave. Ms Ardern, 38, had her daughter, Neve Te Aroha, in June, making her the second world leader to give birth while in office.

The leader passed her duties to her deputy, Winston Peters, while on leave.

However, after enjoying a "wonderful" few weeks with Neve, she said she was "absolutely" ready to go back to work.

"I feel like I've been gifted by the New Zealand public, by my team and with the help of the acting prime minister this time to be with Neve, which has been wonderful," Ms Ardern told TVNZ.

"But of course, this is a unique circumstance and I'm really very keen to get back to work."

The family have spent the first few weeks of Neve's life in a "bubble" at home in Auckland, but will return to Wellington, where New Zealand's parliament is based, on Saturday.

Ms Ardern's partner Clarke Gayford, a television presenter, will be a stay-at-home dad, allowing her to focus on running the country. It is, she says, a privilege many other women do not have.

Ardern, the first world leader in nearly 30 years to have a child while in office, said that she hoped that while she was at the vanguard of leaders having children while ruling, she predicts that "one day it will be normal."

Before she gave birth she downplayed the dual role that she was taking on in an interview with Radio New Zealand.

"I am not the first woman to multitask. I am not the first woman to work and have a baby; there are many women who have done this before."

Ardern became her party's youngest leader almost a year to the day ago, and New Zealand's youngest in 150 years after defeating former Prime Minister Bill English in last October's election.

It marked the first victory for the Labour Party in nine years. She led the group for three months before being elected Prime Minister.

- Source: News websites