Jacinda Ardern tells BBC she never expected motherhood grilling

Jacinda Ardern has told UK media she had been open about her thoughts on motherhood when talking with other women - but had not expected this to influence judgements on her political leadership capabilities. 

Speaking to the BBC, the new Labour leader said she had repeatedly been asked about her thoughts on children.

"For a number of years now I have been asked questions over my intention in that area, and I made a personal decision a long time ago to answer those questions."

But for "very different" reasons, she said.

"People would often tell me about their own personal dilemmas with making choices between having to juggle demanding jobs - and I don't just mean high-profile jobs, I mean multiple jobs, part time work, or juggling care."

She said these women constantly have to think about some of these issues.

"I thought perhaps by talking about my own struggles with those questions that that might be helpful".

But she said she never intended for people to then make judgments about whether or not that meant she was in a place to be in a political position of power.

"I think that's a very different question and judgment that people are then making at that point."

Ms Ardern's comments come after Ms Ardern was asked on The Project whether she wanted children.

In an interview on the AM Show the following day she was pushed again on the subject, with show host Mark Richardson saying New Zealanders had the right to know when choosing a prime minister whether that person might take maternity leave.

Ms Ardern said New Zealand women had a right to keep their child-bearing plans private from their employers.

She pointed out that it was illegal for employers to discriminate against a candidate on the grounds of being pregnant or wanting children in the future.

"It is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace. It is unacceptable, it is unacceptable," she said, pointing her finger at Richardson.

"It is a woman's decision about when they choose to have children and it should not predetermine whether or not they are given a job or have job opportunities."

The repeated questioning of Ms Ardern sparked widespread outrage among many who noted that male politicians are rarely asked their parenthood plans.