Author behind opinion piece on Jacinda Ardern's parenting says she was misunderstood

An Australian author has defended herself after she was criticised for writing an opinion piece which questioned Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's approach to juggling work and parenting.

Natalie Ritchie suggested Ms Ardern should return to work 25-30 hours a week so that she had time to care for her baby as it would be a better example to women than returning to work.

"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.

Speaking to RadioLIVE, Ms Ritchie said people missed the point of the piece and she was not trying to condemn Ms Ardern.

"What I want to do is call on her to treat herself well and to by extension treat all other women in New Zealand well by making the role of PM her own to the degree that she can," she said.

According to Ms Ritchie feminism since the 1980s has been based on "man worshipping" and trying to emulate the schedule of a man who has a wife at home to do everything for him.

It means women are now parenting around their work schedule when instead their work schedule should instead be accommodating parenting.

"Feminists and the mainstream media are trying to airbrush motherhood away when it is the biggest job on the planet," she said.

"We should be able to create Government roles that are designed for mothers and housewives."

Ms Richie said former Prime Ministers Jenny Shipley and Helen Clark failed to change the role enough for Ms Ardern and future parenting Prime Ministers.

"Thanks to women like them the workplace is still largely locked up in jobs designed for men working full-time, some women will want to work full-time that's fine, but most of us do not."

Ms Shipley criticised the original opinion piece, saying others should not pass judgement on the Prime Minister's decisions.

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