Ardern wants ‘balance’ on daughter’s privacy

As she returns to work as Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern has asked Kiwis to respect the privacy of her newborn daughter Neve - but accepts her child will sometimes be “in the public domain”.

Ardern appeared surprised by news of a crackdown by Speaker Trevor Mallard on any photography or filming of Neve at Parliament, saying she assumed the rules had not changed significantly.

The Prime Minister spoke to Newsroom as part of a number of media interviews marking her return from maternity leave.

Asked about how she would balance sharing her child’s growth with the New Zealand public and the need for privacy, Ardern said she was confident Kiwis themselves would help her with that.

“I feel like there is a balance there that I already feel like people are quite mindful of. I love that people have shared in this joy with us, and that’s been because I have a really public role and so I accept that means that our family life will be quite public.

“But at the same time, I’ve chosen a public life, Neve hasn’t, so at a national level we will try and do our best to keep her privacy.”

Ardern pointed to the photos and videos she had shared to date on social media as an illustration of how she would strike that balance.

“I haven’t been posting photos particularly of her, I’m always alluding to her of course and  you can see her in my arms, but I am really mindful of that.”

However, she planned to be an “active parent”, which meant the public would see her, partner Clarke Gayford and Neve out and about, “so we’re going to have to try and strike that balance and I think hopefully people will help us with that”.

Ardern’s interviews came as Mallard announced stringent rules on unauthorised photos of Neve while she was at Parliament, tightening the areas where media are usually allowed to film or photograph.

Any breaches would result in a journalist having their parliamentary accreditation removed and a penalty for their employer, he said.

Ardern said she had been told of Mallard’s rules shortly before they were shared with media, but seemed unclear as to how much of a crackdown they represented.

“My understanding was that the rules were pretty much the same as they’ve always been, I’m not sure, but as I say, if I’m out doing my job and she’s with me I understand that means that she’s with me in the public domain.

“What I hope us when we’re out doing things that are just part of our routine, getting to and from work, I hope in those cases we might have a bit of privacy.”

*Newsroom’s full interview with Jacinda Ardern will be online on Friday morning.

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