Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has gone into labour. She and partner Clarke Gayford arrived at Auckland Hospital early this morning where she will give birth, the Prime Minister's office confirmed just before 6am.
Ardern, 37, was due on Sunday. Her partner, Clarke gave an update to the nation yesterday.
"Anyone with aspirations of being PM, make sure you also have an appetite for reading and reading and reading and reading. #stillwaiting," he Tweeted.
Ardern worked right up until the baby's arrival, basing herself out of Auckland for the last two weeks so she could be close to the hospital. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has now taken over as acting Prime Minister until Ardern returns from maternity leave in six weeks' time. However, Ardern has said she plans to remain in contact with Peters from home while she's on leave.
Responding to questions about how the country will fare while she's maternity leave, she joked "I think the thing to keep in mind is that I'm not dead; I have not exited from the country. I will just be in Sandringham. And so I'll be staying in close touch."
Jacinda plans to introduce her baby to New Zealand and the rest of the world in a similar way to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, who introduced Prince Louis to the world from the steps of Lindo Wing before heading home to focus on getting to know her new baby.
She explained on Breakfast TV on last week, "We know there's interest. You want to, at the same time, try and balance having a little bit of private time and, let's be honest, being a train wreck."
When asked if she planned to greet her public looking as immaculate as Duchess Catherine did, Ardern replied, "Absolutely not. I will be an absolute wreck... the least we can do is acknowledge everyone - and we've had lots of well wishers - and then I'm going to hibernate."
Media have already gathered outside the hospital to get the first glimpse of the new First Family.
Proud dad Clarke Gayford will be the baby's main caregiver when Ardern returns to work.
Update: Jacinda delivered a healthy baby girl at 4:45pm that afternoon. You can read the full story and see the first picture here.
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