3 Aug 2017

Ardern spurns baby questions, looks to policy

6:49 am on 3 August 2017

The new Labour leader has had her first full day in the job, and already there has been debate around the questions that she's being asked as a young, female leader.

Jacinda Ardern, Labour Party Leader addresses media at Parliament after Little stands down.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Commentators were asking whether a male politician would be questioned along the same lines.

Within hours of being appointed to the top job, Jacinda Ardern was asked about balancing her career with potential motherhood, and whether she was up to the job.

She quickly received backing by MPs on all sides of the House, including the Prime Minister, who said those questions were completely inappropriate.

Ms Ardern addressed them head-on.

"I've been really open about the fact that I really do see my circumstances slightly different because I've chosen to openly talk about that."

"But in this day and age it doesn't mean any other woman should be open to those questions."

Ms Ardern spent most of her first full day in the job in meetings with party officials.

She said they had discussed some policy, and how the party's campaign would roll out.

She's already signalled a focus on housing - her first questions in the house were on housing affordability.

In general debate Ms Ardern went head-to-head with National's senior minister and campaign manager, Steven Joyce.

"They say that a week is long time in politics. I can tell you that just 24 hours can feel like a very long time in politics," Ms Ardern told the house.

Mr Joyce replied that her speech was about 30 percent of the way to being relentlessly positive about New Zealand.

Ms Ardern and senior MPs were still discussing a rebrand of Labour's campaign and any change to policy - which was expected to be revealed over the next few days.

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