With her baby due on June 17, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has made public her plan for how the country will run while she’s on maternity leave.
While she takes the six weeks scheduled leave, the reins will be handed to Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, who will perform the role of acting Prime Minister – as he would do any time Ardern is out of the country.
Given the heightened scrutiny being placed on Ardern’s maternity leave, her office released a two-page letter outlining exactly how the government would operate in her absence.
“As acting Prime Minister, you will exercise the functions and powers of the prime minister, in consultation with me where appropriate, particularly where matters of significant political, strategic or public interest, or national security arise,” Arden wrote in the letter addressed to Peters.
“I will continue to receive cabinet and cabinet committee papers. You will manage the day-to-day business of the government,” Ardern wrote.
According to Sydney Morning Herald, in a joint press conference with Peters, who is also the Foreign Minister and leader of the New Zealand First Party, Ardern emphasised that there is nothing “unprecedented” about him taking on the acting PM role during her leave.
“There is already guidance on how this operates, we’ve already undertaken these kinds of situations in the past,” she said.
“The only thing that’s different is the length of time. There has been a lot of questions, so for the sake of clarity we’ve been quite happy to put out what is our usual way of functioning in the public domain.”
Adern’s maternity leave will commence from her due date, June 17, unless the baby arrives early.