Aussie author urges Jacinda Ardern to go part-time to look after baby

Jacinda Ardern speaks to media after the birth of baby Neve.
Jacinda Ardern speaks to media after the birth of baby Neve. Photo credit: Newshub.

An Australian author has attracted criticism after suggesting that Jacinda Ardern should go part-time in the Prime Minister role to look after her baby.

Ms Ardern is part way through six weeks of parental leave after giving birth to her daughter on June 21.

When the six weeks is up she will step back into the role of PM full-time, while her partner Clarke Gayford looks after the baby.

But Natalie Ritchie says that sets a bad precedent, and Ms Ardern should instead step back her workload to 25-30 hours a week to raise her daughter.

"The PM role surely has some trimmable fat: all those ribbon-cuttings, medal-awardings to the rugby under-14s, and stagey 'community' photo opps drop-ins could be offloaded to others," Ms Richie wrote in an opinion piece for NZME.

Ms Richie is the author of a book called Roar Like a Woman: How Feminists Think Women Suck and Men Rock.

Ms Richie said it was unfortunate Ms Ardern was "forced" to leave her baby behind in favour of the role, saying it would be a better example for women if Ms Ardern made the hours fit around her baby.

"The day must come when we will shake our heads at those dark days when a PM was forced to expel her six-week-old baby from her company in order to kiss other people's babies," she wrote, saying Ms Ardern's decision "keeps the old patriarchy in place, while pretending to do away with it".

No mention was made of Mr Gayford's plans to leave work and look after the baby. His day job is hosting a fishing TV show.

Former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley leapt to Ms Ardern's defence and said Ms Nicole shouldn't pass judgement on other people's parenting decisions.

"There is no question of part-time or fulltime, it's about respecting Jacinda's determination to lead and her choices," Shipley told NZME.