New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Returns to Work After Maternity Leave

Winston Peters

Winston Peters"temped as Prime MInister while Jacinda Ardern

As she returns to work as Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern has asked Kiwis to respect the privacy of her newborn daughter Neve - but accepts her child will sometimes be "in the public domain".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with her partner Clarke Gayford and their child Neve in the Auckland home.

The late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was the first leader to do so, when she gave birth to her daughter Baktawar in 1990.

Ardern, 38, is just the second elected world leader in recent history to give birth while holding office.

"We had a flag that we've had for a long time, copied by Australia, and they should actually change their flag and honour the fact that we got there first with this design, being decided by a Prime Minister and his legacy", Peters told TVNZ.

"Something that every parent has gone through and yet I absolutely accept this layer of interest because it's not our normal yet".

Although New Zealand law permits infants to be taken into the parliamentary chamber, Ardern told reporters she did not believe it would be necessary, nor did she intend to bring Neve with her to make a statement. "I am not the first woman to work and have a baby - there are many women who have done this before", she said at the time. "Things that have always been important to us", she said.

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Ardern will leave her home town of Auckland to return to the capital, Wellington, on Saturday.

Ardern said in media interviews that Neve would travel with her for the timebeing given she is breastfeeding and would accompany her on a trip to NY for the U.N. General Assembly meeting in September. "But one day, hopefully, it won't be".

Unlike Ardern, who was able to take maternity leave, the Pakistani prime minister underwent a caesarean section and then returned to work.

In Ardern's absence, Peters has steered a reasonably steady ship, although domestic politics has been far from quiet.

Ardern said that, now she is back in business, she plans to focus on issues that "really matter" to her, including mental health, the environment, trade-related matters and an "employment-related announcement" she says she's particularly proud of.

With the veteran 73-year-old Peters at the helm, affairs of state ticked over quietly although business unease continues to quietly simmer in the background with a growing number of surveys showing a lack of confidence in the centre-left government.

Ardern's interviews came as Mallard announced stringent rules on unauthorised photos of Neve while she was at Parliament, tightening the areas where media are usually allowed to film or photograph.

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