New Zealand PM makes history with ‘first baby’ at UN General Assembly
Three-month-old Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford was even given a UN security clearance badge, according to Arden’s partner, and Neve’s full-time caregiver, Clarke Gayford.
“Because everyone on twitter’s [sic] been asking to see Neve’s UN id, staff here whipped one up,” Gayford wrote in a tweet. “I wish I could have captured the startled look on a Japanese delegation inside UN yesterday who walked into a meeting room in the middle of a nappy change. Great yarn for her 21st.”
When Arden gave birth on June 21, she was only the second world leader to give birth while in office. She also took six weeks of maternity leave, becoming the first leader to do so.
Baby Neve, along with her father, watched Ardern give a speech at UNICEF’s social good summit Monday night.
“I have the ability to take my child to work, there’s not many places you can do that. I am not the gold standard for bringing up a child in this current environment because there are things about my circumstances that are not the same,” Ardern said, the Guardian reported.
The United Nations was delighted to see baby Neve in the General Assembly hall, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
“Prime Minister Ardern is showing that no one is better qualified to represent her country than a working mother. Just five per cent of the world’s leaders are women, so we need to make them as welcome here as possible,” he said.
When asked what is harder, running a country or taking a three-month-old on a 17-hour plane ride, Ardern joked.
“It felt, at the time, on par, I have to say,” she told NBC’s Today Show.
She also said she had a greater appreciation for “parents, mothers, and solo mothers, in particular, parents who do it on their own” since having Neve.
Through it all, she says, she’s still focusing on making sure the country she leads is governed by kindness.
“Yes, you need a robust government, but you can be strong and you can be kind.”
New Zealand’s laws were recently changed to allow nannies or “baby carers” to travel with the prime minister on international trips, but Ardern said Gayford and Neve’s travel costs will be coming out of their own pocket.
“There is no spousal programme for this, so we just made a judgment call that we would cover [Gayford’s] travel for this trip. He will be going to some things, but he’s primarily travelling to care for Neve,” she said, according to the New Zealand Herald.
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