New Zealand’s Prime Minister to return to work as maternity leave ends

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The Guardian reports that New Zealand’s prime minister has returned to the capital as she prepares to jump back from maternity leave into politics.

Jacinda Ardern this week officially ended her six weeks off, during which she gave birth to daughter Neve. Stepping off her flight at Wellington airport with partner Clarke Gayford and their daughter on Saturday, Ardern was welcomed at the arrival terminal with a cheer from onlookers and an impromptu song from the school choir waiting for her.

Briefly addressing waiting reporters, the prime minister said the family would be spending the next few days preparing New Zealand’s official prime-ministerial residence for a baby.

While her family settle into Wellington for the next few weeks, Ardern will be jumping straight back into the rigours of politics on Monday.

The government ship has been reasonably steady during her six-week absence, but it has not been drama-free: business confidence has hit a 10-year-low, nurses have been on strike and tension with Australia over deportations has risen.

And there won’t be room for a run-up. Parliament sits this week, with opposition politicians ready to question the prime minister.

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