Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 July 2019

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gets engaged

Jacinda Ardern is engaged to long-term partner and television presenter Clarke Gayford

A government spokesperson has confirmed that New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is engaged to her long-term partner Clarke Gayford. Courtesy EPA / David Rowland 
A government spokesperson has confirmed that New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is engaged to her long-term partner Clarke Gayford. Courtesy EPA / David Rowland 

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is engaged to her long-term partner Clarke Gayford.

The couple got engaged over the Easter weekend while visiting Hawke’s Bay in the country's North Island. The engagement was only revealed when a student journalist noticed Ardern was wearing a diamond ring on her middle finger, rather than the traditional engagement finger, and asked her office about it.

The Prime Minister's office confirmed that the couple, who have been together for over five years, had decided to get engaged. No further comment was available but more information may be released on Monday when Ardern is expected to meet members of the media.

Political figures in the country took to social media to congratulate the family on the engagement. Scott Brown, the United States’ Ambassador to New Zealand & Samoa wished the couple a “lifetime of happiness and joy”.

National party's Simon Bridges tweeted a congratulatory message, but some users mocked the lack of emotion from the opposition party leader.

In a radio interview in New Zealand early last year, Ardern was asked about her plans to marry Gayford. She predicted that it would happen, saying: "We happen to have done things in reverse a little bit, but that happens in life sometimes."

Ardern was widely praised for her handling of New Zealand's worst terror attack on March 15. After a gunman killed 51 worshippers at two mosques, she successfully helped introduce new gun restrictions across the country.

She also became only the second prime minister to give birth while in office. Ardern and her television presenter fiancé are parents to 10 month-old-daughter Neve Te Aroha.

Neve has also made history becoming the 'First Baby' at a United Nations summit in September last year. The three-month-old accompanied her mother who was speaking at the peace summit in the General Assembly. The baby was given her own mock security pass for the occasion.

Updated: May 3, 2019 01:45 PM

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