NEWS
30/07/2018 11:18 BST

Jacinda Ardern Set To Return To Work This Week As Maternity Leave Ends

The New Zealand PM said she'll be 'multitasking like every parent'.

Stringer . / Reuters

New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern will officially return from maternity leave this week. 

Ardern, who is only the second world leader to give birth while in office, has been off duty for six weeks following the birth of her daughter Neve on 21 June.

On Sunday, she recorded a live Facebook video outlining her plans for her taking up the reins as prime minister again, and will be back at her desk on Thursday.

Titled “A quick hello as we get ready to come back!” Ardern rocked her baby in a nearby bassinet as she spoke to the camera, which was in selfie mode.

She will resume her duties when Winston Peters, who has been acting prime minister, leaves the country to go to Singapore in his role as foreign secretary.

“The prime minister will resume her duties from the time my plane takes off on midnight on Wednesday night,” Peters said at his last post-Cabinet press conference of the tenure.

He said Ardern would be based in Auckland on Thursday and Friday, before heading to Wellington this weekend to settle her family into Premier House.

In the video, she said she wanted to touch base as her maternity leave draws to a close. 

“We’re all doing really well still, we have absolutely no routine to speak of. I can hear a chorus of parents laughing at the suggestion that you would ever have a routine with a five-week-old baby but we’re doing really well nonetheless,” she said.

Discussing how her Sunday routine of reading government papers had been slightly adapted since giving birth, as she now goes through them while also rocking her baby, which she added was the only workout she had done in weeks.

She said: “I’m multitasking like every single parent I’ve ever met, so a big shout-out to all of them.”

Ardern said it was “heartening” to be spending her first week back working on issues such as mental health, the environment, trade-related matters that were important to her, to the government and to the Labour party.

She also said she would be making an “employment-related announcement”.

The former adviser to Tony Blair promised to touch base with her supporters again to share “a little bit of what life will look like, because it’s obviously going to be a little bit different”.

“Ultimately, though, that first week I am going to be focused on getting straight back into it ... we’ll be hitting the ground running, as I know everyone will expect us to do,” she said.

She also thanked well wishers for their cards and gifts, and said she was “looking forward to getting back on deck”.

She ended the video by thanking her mother for her support after she spent a couple of weeks living with Ardern and her partner, Clarke Gayford, following the birth of Neve.

“What a new appreciation you get for mums after you have your own,” she said. “A little thank you to my mum and all mums out there as well, including Clarke’s who is here helping us right now, too.”

Ardern’s video, which is her first since a Facebook post celebrating the start of Labour’s families package on 1 July, came as leader of the opposition Simon Bridges took to the stage with his own baby and young children for his first major speech to the National Party.

Bridges released his own video ahead of the speech, which features his three children including his six month old baby, in what some New Zealand media outlets dubbed “the battle of the babies”.

Ardern’s video recieved an overwhelmingly positive response on Facebook.

One person commented: “Love the multitasking. Rock a cradle and run a country. Showing women can be mothers and leaders.”