New Zealand politician hits back after ‘unacceptable’ questions about baby plans

New leader of the new Zealand Labour Party Jacinda Ardern (C) with her cabinet members at her first press conference at Parliament in Wellington on August 1, 2017. (MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)

New Zealand’s new Labor leader rebuked an interviewer after he insisted that people “need to know” if she’d take maternity leave were she to become Prime Minister. Within 24 hours of becoming Labour’s youngest ever leader, Jacinda Ardern, 37, was asked twice about whether she planned on having children. The first time the question was broached she handled it with grace, explaining that she had been “really open about that dilemma because I think probably lots of women face it.”

“For me, my position is no different to the woman who works three jobs, or who might be in a position where they are juggling lots of responsibilities,” Ardern said.

But radio interviewer Mark Richardson was less polite in his phrasing just hours later, as he aggressively demanded that she answer his questions on her future family plans. “Is it OK for a PM to take maternity leave while in office?” he asked, adding that the public “need to know that type of thing from the women you are employing.”

Ardern, evidently, was less than impressed. She reportedly pointed her finger at Richardson, saying that while she understood the interest, it was “totally unacceptable in 2017” to ask such questions of women in a workplace.

“For other women, it is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace,” said Ardern. “That is unacceptable in 2017. It is the woman’s decision about when they choose to have children.”

A number of politicians, including New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English, stepped in to defend Ardern in wake of the interview, noting that somehow questions about having children were never directed at men who might become prime minister.

“It’s entirely [Ardern’s] business,” English said in comments made to stuff.co.nz. “Politics is tough on families, it’s tough on relationships.”

Read the full story at The Telegraph.


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