NZ PM Jacinda Ardern gives birth to baby girl
UPDATE: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has given birth to a girl, and has announced the happy occasion via social media.
Clarke Gayford shared a photo of the couple with their newborn on Twitter, to massive and immediate reaction from across the world.
"So happy to announce our little girl has finally arrived! Everyone healthy and happy," he said.
"7.3lb, 4.45pm. Huge thanks to all involved, what a team."
Ms Ardern later shared the same photo on her Instagram account, and it quickly amassed tens of thousand of likes.
"Welcome to our village wee one," she said.
Ms Ardern is the first person to give birth while in office since 1990.
So happy to announce our little girl has finally arrived! Everyone healthy and happy.— Clarke Gayford (@NZClarke) June 21, 2018
Huge thanks to all involved, what a team. pic.twitter.com/zXpVh3vElr
Australian leaders were quick to congratulate the new parents. Opposition leader Bill Shorten retweeted Mr Gayford's photo with a congratulations.
Queensland opposition leader Deb Frecklington tweeted a similar message.
"Congratulations Jacinda!," she said.
"Being a mum and politician is hard work but definitely rewarding."
Congratulations Jacinda! Being a mum and politician is hard work but definitely rewarding :) https://t.co/pW8drWLK5w— Deb Frecklington MP (@DebFrecklington) June 21, 2018
Mrs Ardern will take a short stint of maternity leave before returning to the top job.
EARLIER: JACINDA Ardern has entered hospital to have her baby, the New Zealand Prime Minister's office has confirmed.
Ms Ardern's partner Clarke Gayford accompanied her to Auckland City Hospital and her office confirmed the news in a statement.
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is now Acting Prime Minister.
Ms Ardern, 37, became Prime Minister last October when she formed an unexpected coalition government after a general election the previous month.
It was an extraordinary rise for Ms Ardern - she only became leader a few weeks before the September election when her colleagues turned to her to save them from an electoral massacre.
It was even more surprising given she had ruled out wanting to take the leadership, partly because it could affect her chances of having children.
On her first day as leader she was challenged on a breakfast television show about this - and her response quickly spread around the world.
In January she stunned Kiwis and the world by announcing she was pregnant. Ms Ardern said the baby news had come as a shock to her and partner Mr Gayford, but said she would work up until her due date and then take six weeks maternity leave.
The couple had been told they would need help to conceive, so she was surprised to learn she was pregnant just six days before she was confirmed as Prime Minister.
"Clarke and I have always been clear we wanted to be parents but had been told we would need help for that to happen. That's made this news a fantastic surprise," she said in January.
Mr Gayford will be the primary caregiver when the Ms Ardern returns to work.
The couple endured a cringe-worthy interview with Channel 9's 60 Minutes earlier this year where journalist Charles Wooley asked them when the baby was conceived.
While she is on leave her deputy Mr Peters, 73, will become acting Prime Minister. Recently the pair outlined the arrangement to media which where it emerged she would still be in control and briefed on Cabinet and major issues.
"It's no different to any time that he would be acting prime minister in by absence - for instance, for overseas travel," the Prime Minister said.
"Of course, the fact I'm having a baby while in office is [unprecedented]. The actual activity of the deputy prime minister taking on the acting role is not..."
Kiwis have been largely supportive of the pregnancy with polls showing the vast majority don't believe it will have a bearing on the way she does her job.
Her pregnancy has become a major focus for international media, especially during recent months where she has travelled throughout Europe to meet counterparts like French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
She has indicated her leave will not begin until the moment she arrives at hospital to give birth.That is likely to be Auckland Hospital.
Ms Ardern will share news of the birth herself - most likely through Instagram like she did the pregnancy bombshell - which will the be followed by a formal government announcement.
"While the couple are happy to share with the public some moments with their new baby they ask that media respect the family's privacy in the weeks set aside to be together after the birth, and during private family moments," a statement from the prime minister's office said.
The statement said the couple will speak to media as they leave the hospital and Ms Ardern will do a round of interviews with local media as she prepares to return to work.
More to come.