New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, is engaged to her long-term partner Clarke Gayford, a spokesperson for the prime minister has confirmed, The Guardian reports.
It emerged that the couple had got engaged over the Easter weekend in Hawke’s Bay after Ardern was spotted wearing a diamond ring at an event at the Pike River mine on Friday.
Ardern and Gayford became a couple after he approached her about a constituency issue in her Auckland electorate of Mount Albert about five years ago.
In June last year the pair became parents to daughter Neve Te Aroha, making Ardern the second prime minister in history to give birth while in office. Gayford, who is referred to as the “first bloke” in New Zealand, took time off his job as host of a fishing TV show to care for the child.
In January BBC television show Victoria Derbyshire questioned Ardern’s feminist credentials, when pressing her on why she wouldn’t take the initiative and propose to Gayford.
The prime minister laughed at the awkward question, seemingly surprised, and then answered: “No I would not ask, no.”
“You’re a feminist?” replied Derbyshire.
“Oh absolutely, absolutely I am a feminist” said Ardern.
“But no, I want to put him through the pain and torture of having to agonise about that question himself, that’s letting him off the hook, absolutely not.”
Political commentator Bryce Edwards said Ardern’s 2018 pregnancy helped boost her popularity and a wedding before the 2020 election would help too.
On social media New Zealanders offered their congratulations to the couple, including opposition leader Simon Bridges and British high commissioner Laura Clarke.