Chris Hipkins appeals for his family's privacy to be respected ahead of swearing-in as Prime Minister

The new leader of the Labour Party has asked New Zealanders to respect his family's privacy as he prepares to be sworn-in as New Zealand's 41st prime minister next week.

At a media conference this afternoon Chris Hipkins revealed that he and his wife had made the decision a year ago to live separately but to "do everything we can to raise our children together".

"Being a politician's partner and being a minister's partner ... when you're in the public spotlight as I have been - particularly during the COVID-19 response - it's bloody hard," he said.

"Families come under an enormous amount of pressure."

Hipkins said he was aware of the "Wellington rumour mill" and wanted to put the decision he and his wife had made on the record, but added it would be his "final comment on the matter".

"We remain incredibly close, she's still my best friend, but we have made that decision in the best interests of our family."

Hipkins and his wife have two children - a six-year-old son and a four-year-old daughter.

He wanted them to grow up with a "typical Kiwi life", he said.

"I want them to be able to make mistakes, I want them to be able to learn and to grow without five million people looking over their shoulder. And so I intend to keep them out of the public limelight - you won't see pictures of them on social media or in the media and so on."

Hipkins said it was his view that his personal life was his own business but he had seen the "enormous scrutiny" placed on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her family.

By putting himself forward to be "to be a minister, to be an MP, to be the prime minister", he acknowledged he had made himself "public property".

"I absolutely accept that, but my family aren't," he said, "and I ask people to respect that".

His family knew he was putting his name forward for the leadership position so they had had "a few days" to get their heads around it, he said.

National Party leader Christopher Luxon said today he agreed families should be off-limits.

"I really support Chris Hipkins' remarks about his family, it's up to each member of Parliament to determine how they will navigate being in the public eye and I have huge respect for his statement and I think we should all respect that as well."