25 Sep 2018

Jacinda Ardern on US breakfast TV show: Joy of parenthood 'far surpassed expectations'

8:22 am on 25 September 2018

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has joked with US breakfast television hosts that the difficulty of taking a three-month-old baby on a long haul flight is on par with running a country.

Jacinda Ardern kisses daughter Neve ans as her husband Clarke Gayford  looks on during the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit at the UN in New York.

Photo: AFP

Ms Ardern appeared on NBC's Today Show, a programme with a US audience of about four million.

Ms Ardern was interviewed by hosts Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie almost entirely about her role as a new mother in charge of a country.

Jacinda Ardern appeared on NBC's Today Show.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with Today Show hosts Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie Photo: Supplied / Prime Minister's Office

She told them her appreciation of parents, mothers and particularly solo mothers had increased tenfold since she became a mother.

"I already had that appreciation, but now it's at another level."

Hoda Kotb asked Ms Ardern about her statements before she had Neve that she could [run the country with a young baby] and that women work and have young kids all the time, asking whether it had met her expectations.

"It's really met my expectations. My sister has two children, I'm very close to her and I've watched her go through that journey and so I had a sense of it.

"You don't know until you are there of course, but it's met my expectations, the joy though has far surpassed my expectations."

Taking a three-month-old on a 17-hour flight "at the time, felt on par" with running a country, she laughed. "But between Clarke and I we managed it."

Clarke Gayford holding daughter Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford, as his Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks during the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit September 24, 2018.

Photo: AFP

Ms Ardern also talked about her wish to bring kindness back into politics saying there is not one rulebook for leadership.

"I really rebel against this idea that politics has to be a place full of ego and where you're constantly focused on scoring hits against each one another, yes we need a robust democracy but you can be strong and you can be kind."

The hosts also had a particularly interest in New Zealand's coalition government likening it to if Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz were running the government together.

Ms Ardern explained that there were three parties in government which shared a number of common principles and beliefs which they used as a platform to build on.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs