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New Zealand’s Prime Minister Back At Work Six Weeks After Giving Birth

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New Zealand’s prime minister returned to work Thursday six weeks after giving birth and called her maternity leave a “gift.”

Jacinda Ardern, 38, the New Zealand prime minister from the Labour Party, said that she’s “ready” to return to work after taking time off to spend with her newborn baby daughter Neve, according to The Guardian. Her daughter was born on June 21.

Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford is a stay-at-home dad for Neve. “I have a partner who can be there alongside me, who’s taking up a huge part of that joint responsibility because he’s a parent too, he’s not a babysitter,” Ardern told Radio New Zealand.

“I’m ready and very keen to get back to work,” Ardern added. “I am confident with all of the support I’m very lucky to have, that we will absolutely make it work.”

Ardern was eligible for 18 weeks of maternity leave but only took six weeks off. The prime minister’s Labour coalition increased paid parental leave from 18 to 22 weeks after she got sworn into office in October 2017, Newsweek reported. The legislation went into effect July 1, according to the Library of Congress. Parental leave will then increase to 26 weeks by 2020.

Deputy Minister Winston Peters, 72, filled in as prime minister during her maternity leave.

“I might be at the odd press conference with a little bit of spill on me because I’m not going to hide the imperfections of parenting, I don’t think anyone needs that,” Ardern said. (RELATED: New Zealand Company Has Employees Work For Four Days A Week Yet Pays Them For Five)

Ardern added that she will take Neve with her when she speaks at the United Nations next month.
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