As it happened: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gives birth to a girl

Four days after she was due, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has arrived at hospital to have her baby.

This means Winston Peters has now become Acting Prime Minister.

Live updates have now ended.

7:23pm - Baby name could take a while

Many babies spend their first days on Earth without a name. It's quite likely there won't be an announcement of Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford's first child's name for at least several days.

During a five-day trip to Waitangi in February, the Prime Minister was given a number of baby name suggestions. Northland iwi Te Aupōuri suggested 'Waimirirangi' meaning 'strong, fierce princess' or 'strong woman'.

The Rātana movement 'gifted' Ms Ardern with its suggestion to give the baby the middle name Waru, or Te Waru.

7:04pm - A show of support from nearby construction site

A crane opposite Auckland Hospital appears to have been lit up in Labour-red. Unknown if it's a show of support for Jacinda Ardern's newborn or just a coincidence.

6:38pm - No press conference tonight

It's been confirmed that the Prime Minister will not speak to media tonight. It's unknown whether she'll stay in hospital overnight before holding the expected press conference tomorrow.

6:29pm - Congratulations flood in from other politicians

Jacinda Ardern's colleagues have been quick to congratulate her on the birth of her daughter.

6:25pm - Newshub breaks the baby news live on air

6:16pm - It's a girl!

The baby's here! It's a "healthy baby girl" who was born at 4:45pm, weighing 3.31kg.

5:26pm - Speculation mounts that the baby has been born

Members of the press gathered at Auckland Hospital are speculating that the Prime Minister has given birth but won't address the media for some hours, if at all today.

If she has given birth in the late afternoon, there's a good chance she'll stay in hospital overnight and give the press conference in the morning.

4:42pm - Has the baby already been born?

A source has allegedly told Chris Keall from NBR that it seems Jacinda Ardern has given birth and is preparing to announce the baby's arrival.

4:38 - Julie Anne Genter to announce own maternity leave plans "very soon"

Another pregnant politician will soon be making announcements around her own maternity leave.

Julie Anne Genter told Newshub the plan for what happens when she takes leave will be announced "very soon".

This will include how long she'll be away from Parliament and who will pick up her portfolios. She is Minister for Women, Associate Minister for Transport and Associate Minister for Health.

4:10pm - A generous offer from a different floor

The Prime Minister has been offered childcare from someone on the third floor of Auckland Hospital. 

As it happened: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gives birth to a girl
Photo credit: Newshub.

3:17pm - Eat My Lunch delivers early dinner to the parents-to-be

Charitable food organisation Eat My Lunch has delivered Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford an early dinner to keep their energy up.

The company has also offered the parents-to-be their "best wishes".

3:05pm - Thirteen babies already born at Auckland Hospital today

There have reportedly been 13 babies born at Auckland Hospital so far today, but it's not yet known if the Prime Minister's first child is among them.

2:52pm - The Prime Minister receives congratulations and a gender prediction
from her fellow hospital patients

Far north man Albert Topia and his wife Pamela Popata are also in Auckland Hospital, and have wished Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford all the best for their new arrival.

"I was hoping it was going to be a Gemini like me," Mr Topia told Newshub.

"I hope I'm the godfather to their baby, I'd love to be."

Ms Popata says there's a "bit of a buzz" throughout the hospital today.

"I went up to the ward to have a look, I'm not allowed in but just to know that she's there. I love her very much and I wish her all the best...we're really excited that she's up there."

She says she thinks the couple are having a boy.

2:20pm - Paula Bennett passes motion without notice or debate to wish the new family well

Parliament might be in urgency, but that didn't stop Paula Bennett from passing a motion without notice or debate to offer some bipartisan well wishes.

National's deputy leader wished Jacinda Ardern a "speedy birth" that is "as enjoyable as it can be". 

"Today is an exceptional day," she said.

1:49pm - Prime Minister's office provides snacks for waiting media

The Prime Minister's office has provided snacks for the media waiting at the hospital, possibly indicating they're expecting many more hours of labour ahead.

The spread includes sushi, muffins, sandwiches and fresh fruit.

1:28pm - Security guard posted outside Auckland hospital birthing unit

A source from inside the hospital told Newshub a guard has now been stationed outside the birthing unit.

1:22pm - Prime Minister will not be eligible for Best Start payment

The payment will provide parents with $60 a week for the first year of the child's life. It will continue for the next two years if the parents' income is less than $79000 a year.

But it's only going to cover babies born from July 1, 2018, a little over a week from now.

1:12pm - Benazir Bhutto's daughter congratulates Ms Ardern

Bakhtawar B-Zardari was born while her mother was the Prime Minister of Pakistan. She was the first child born to a head of government.

"Congratulations to Prime Minister [Jacinda Ardern] on the wonderful news," she wrote on Twitter.

1:05pm - Ms Ardern's baby to join nearly 7000 babies a year born at Auckland hospital

In 2017 there were 6974 babies born at Auckland City Hospital and 56,610 nationwide.

Typically a parent stays at the hospital for 2.3 days after giving birth and either goes straight home or to Birthcare, a specialist unit for birthing and postnatal care.

12:47pm - Labour Party press secretary shares a heart-warming story

Newshub Political Editor Tova O'Brien is inside the hospital waiting for news and has had the chance to speak to Labour Party staff milling around.

One staff member told her as they were taking a taxi to the hospital their Sikh driver said he was going to take the rest of the day off to go to the temple and pray for Ms Ardern and her baby.

12:22pm - Prime Minister was still working when she arrived at hospital

Staff from Ms Ardern's office were still receiving texts from the PM after she arrived at the hospital on Thursday.

"Interestingly, the Prime Minister has been texting her staff this morning checking they are okay [and] asking if things are tracking at their end," said Newshub Political Editor Tova O'Brien.

"I think things have gone a bit quieter since then though."

12:08pm - Rainbow over the Beehive on the day Ms Ardern goes into labour

Jayne Costelloe sent an image of the rainbow to Newshub and said it was the first time she's seen one like this in 30 years of walking to work in Wellington.

"Obviously a blessing on our labouring Prime Minister and new babe," she said.

As it happened: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gives birth to a girl
Photo credit: Supplied

11:55am - Mr Gayford drove Ms Ardern to hospital

No crown limo or motorcade here, Ms Ardern's 5:50 arrival to hospital was from her own car driven by her partner.

11:40am - Growing number of media wait at hospital

Newshub political reporter Tova O'Brien is waiting for news of the birth with around 20 other reporters in a special room set up at Auckland hospital.

Ms Ardern is expected to speak to media as she leaves the hospital, but the baby's birth will be announced on the couple's social media accounts.

11:32am - Ms Ardern is on the ninth floor

A remarkable coincidence - Ms Ardern has gone from her ninth floor office at the Beehive to the ninth floor of Auckland Hospital.

11:21am - The Prime Minister is officially in labour

It has now officially been confirmed the Prime Minister is in labour.

Previous to this all that had been confirmed to media was that Ms Ardern had arrived at hospital to have her baby.

She was in labour when she arrived at hospital.

11:05am - The baby could share a birthday with Benazir Bhutto

If born today the baby will share a birthday with the former Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Bhutto was the first head of government to give birth while in office when she had her daughter Bakhtawar in 1990.

10:47am - Baby news covered worldwide

From Samoa to Belgium the Prime Minister's admission to hospital is hitting headlines.

10:23am - Ms Ardern's baby will be born during Matariki

Writer Morgan Godfrey has pointed out the timing of the birth means the baby will be born during Matariki or the Māori New Year.

According to the Ministry of Culture and Heritage website Matariki is the Māori name for the Pleiades cluster.

It says Matariki set on June 7 and is due to rise on July 6-9.

9:49am - Media assemble outside Auckland City Hospital

Several camera crews have already set up across the road from where Ms Ardern will give birth.

Media outside the hospital.
Media outside the hospital. Photo credit: Newshub.

9:36am - Best wishes from Labour for Ms Ardern and Mr Gayford

"Becoming a parent is the best moment in your life," said deputy leader Kelvin Davis.

9:15am - Social media reaction continues

Twitter is full of well-wishers for Ms Ardern.

Ms Ardern's baby will be born during Matariki, as pointed out by Morgan Godfery on Twitter, and it appears that people are all smiles on Wellington's Lambton Quay near the grounds of Parliament.

"May your journey be safe and special for you and your parents, First Pēpi," one user wrote.

9:10am - Political leaders react to Prime Minister's impending arrival

Multiple leaders have come forward to support Ms Ardern after she arrived at hospital.

"Earlier this morning my office was advised the Prime Minister was being admitted to hospital in preparation for the birth of her child," said New Zealand First leader and Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters. 

"It’s a happy day and on behalf of the coalition government we wish her and Clarke all the very best."

"Her and Clarke have my best wishes for this special experience," said Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson.

"This is an exciting time for Jacinda and Clarke and an historic moment for our country," said Green Part Co-leader James Shaw.

"I join with Marama and our Green Party caucus colleagues in wishing them both all the best."

The National Party has passed a motion in Parliament on Thursday morning, which is sitting under urgency on unrelated matters, to congratulate Ms Ardern.

8:53am - A "great way to start the day" says Acting Minister of Child Poverty Reduction Tracey Martin

Ms Martin was notified by text this morning that she had taken over, as would have been Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters.

8:42am - Prime Minister craved salt and vinegar chips during her pregnancy

Ms Ardern said her pregnancy was mostly uneventful, but she craved salt and vinegar chips so much she thought her staff would work out something was up before she announced she was expecting.

8:17am - June 21 an auspicious day to have a baby

If the baby is born today it will be born on the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year in terms of sunlight.

Notable birthdays include Chris Pratt, Prince William and Benazir Bhutto.

Former PM of Pakistan, Bhutto was the first head of government to give birth while in office.

There aren't any major holidays but in terms of fun ones it's International T-Shirt Day, Go Skateboarding day and International Yoga Day.

8:02am - Social media rife with jokes

"Don’t even try to tell me you’re a Labour party supporter if you haven’t ever been in labour. [Jacinda Ardern] is the realist Labour party leader ever," Twitter user Abby Lu Loader wrote.

7:49am - PM could have been in labour for nearly two hours already

The office of the Prime Minister hasn't confirmed whether she is in active labour, but Stuff reports Ms Ardern arrived at Auckland City Hospital at 5:50am.

7:35am - Social media reaction begins

7:15am - Possible long wait ahead

The Ministry of Health guidelines state first time parents can take between six and 36 hours to get through the first stage of labour.

6:30am - International reaction begins

The New York Times has published an article about the birth.

"Ms Ardern, 37, would be the first world leader in almost three decades to give birth while in office, and her pregnancy has prompted a national conversation about working mothers," it said.

6:03am - Prime Minister arrives at hospital

A press release from the Prime Minister's office has confirmed she has arrived at hospital to have her baby.

Newshub.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz