It appeared to very much be a family effort getting three-month old Baby Neve Te Aroha to New York so mum, NZ PM Jacinda Ardern, could attend and speak at the United Nations General Assembly.
Ardern made history in the process, becoming the first female leader to bring a baby into the meeting. Her partner Clarke Gayford held Neve while Ardern gave her speech at the Nelson Mandela peace summit.
— Michelle Nichols (@michellenichols) September 24, 2018
During the speech, Ardern shared a commitment to end child poverty and improve living conditions for children in NZ. She spoke about the profound impact Mandela had had on her country.
Gayford posted Neve’s security pass on Twitter, while sharing how they startled a Japanese delegation who walked into a meeting room midway through a nappy change.
Because everyone on twitter’s been asking to see Neve’s UN id, staff here whipped one up.
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. pic.twitter.com/838BI96VYX
— Clarke Gayford (@NZClarke) September 24, 2018
Ardern made it clear they would use their own money to fund Gayford’s trip to New York. She’s previously said that NZ politicians are “paid enough” and announced a 12 month pay freeze on the salaries of Parliamentarians.
And she shared how the recognised she was in a unique position to take her 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,” she said, before outlining some of the conditions that mean she is able to continue on as PM.
“If I can do one thing, and that is change the way we think about these things, then I will be pleased we have achieved something,”
So is it harder governing a country, or taking a baby on a 17-hour flight across the world? Asked that question by the NBC network, Ardern said: “It felt at the time on par”.
UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said Ardern shows that no one is better qualified to run a 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.”
Former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power tweeted that she “cannot stress how much the UN — and the governments that comprise it — need this.”
— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) September 25, 2018
Gayford shared on Twitter that Neve has been “determined to maintain” NZ time, and that they have been up late watching bad television.
Thank you for the concerned messages about how tired i look (fair call). Seems ‘someone’ is determined to maintain nzt. We’ve watched so much bad late night tv together that her mum came out at 2am and busted us watching cage fighting in our underpants. pic.twitter.com/sbzAmeyFbf
— Clarke Gayford (@NZClarke) September 25, 2018
Ardern returned to work last month after becoming the second world leader to give birth in office, back in June.