RNZ Auckland, August 6, 2018
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is back on the job after six weeks of maternity leave, chairing Cabinet as the first order of business.
Ms Ardern travelled to Wellington over the weekend with partner Clarke Gayford and baby Neve to settle into Premier House near Parliament.
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters took over her duties while she was on leave, but she took her place at the head of the Cabinet table again today.
Gratitude to Winston
She thanked her Cabinet colleagues – and Mr Peters in particular, just before the meeting, for allowing her to have a “wonderful” six weeks off.
“Not only because of the birth of our healthy daughter, but because we have been gifted – by this Cabinet, by the people of New Zealand – this time together.
“And I know this was guarded by this Cabinet but also by yourself, Mr Peters.”
She told ministers she knew “exactly how the six weeks would go – and it has,” saying things had “trucked on” for the government.
Ms Ardern said that she was not sure how to repay the favour to Mr Peters, “perhaps by not asking you to assist at 4 am in the morning – any takers? I’ll leave you to deputise.”
“It’s really nice to be back, I actually mean it”.
Ms Ardern is expected to make several announcements this week in portfolios including trade, mental health and the environment.
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1. Jacinda Ardern at her first Cabinet Meeting after returning from six weeks Maternal Leave
2. Jacinda Ardern at the Media Conference today
Pictures for RNZ by Rebekah Parsons-King