New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gives birth to first child

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave birth to a baby girl in an Auckland hospital Thursday, becoming only the second world leader to do so while in office.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has stepped in as acting prime minister and will run the country for the next six weeks while Ms Ardern takes maternity leave, according to an agreement they published earlier.

Ardern became her party's youngest leader and New Zealand's youngest in 150 years after defeating former Prime Minister Bill English in last October's election.

It's Ms Ardern's first child, and her partner Clarke Gayford will be a stay-at-home father.

In a post on her official Instagram account, Ardern said the baby arrived at 4.45 pm local time, weight 3.31 kilograms (7.3 pounds).

Jennifer Curtin, a professor of politics at the University of Auckland, said there was symbolic importance in Ms Ardern giving birth as it showed political parties around the world that it was fine to have younger women as candidates. "We're all doing really well", she wrote.

It was the first time in the country's history that a prime minister was pregnant while in office.

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New Zealand First MP Ron Mark says, "My thoughts are with her and Clarke at this very exciting time".

Political parties have been quick to acknowledge the news, with National leader Simon Bridges congratulating Ardern.

Ms Ardern was driven to hospital by her partner Clark Gayford and arrived at 5.50am this morning.

"But this is news that Jacinda wanted to share with New Zealand, and for it to be part of New Zealand, and I think her and Clarke have managed to do just that".

In contrast, Bhutto, fearing she was in danger of being overthrown, travelled incognito to a Karachi hospital, underwent a Caesarean section, then returned to work. "Plenty of women have multitasked before me, and I want to acknowledge that", she said when revealing the pregnancy in January.

James Shaw, the leader of New Zealand's Green Party, which is a member of New Zealand's ruling coalition with Ardern's Labour Party and New Zealand First, said the birth of the prime minister's child represented New Zealand values.