A New Zealand broadcaster has been forced to apologise after posting footage of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern breastfeeding her daughter online, sparking anger from viewers.
The 38-year-old politician welcomed her baby girl Neve Te Aroha Ardern-Gayford with partner Clarke at the end of June, giving her just weeks to bond and spend quality time with her tiny tot before returning to work this week.
Having completed a busy week, she appeared on camera for a chat with Television New Zealand’s (TVNZ) 1 News on Friday, as part of a government engagement.
According to multiple reports, she took a break mid-way through and retreated to the back of the room to breastfeed her daughter – seemingly unaware the cameras were still rolling. The brief video was later uploaded online, sparking anger from viewers.
It has since been taken down.
“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was discussing the issue of single-use plastic bags and that should have been our focus,” a TVNZ spokeswoman said in a statement, The West reports. “We accept the criticism. We got it wrong.”
Newstalk ZB host Andrew Dickens reportedly later aired his anger during his show, questioning how the footage made it online.
It comes as Jacinda opened up on juggling motherhood with running the country in a tell-all chat with The Guardian – admitting she’s nipping away from her duties every three hours to feed her baby.
“Of course it is hard graft in those early weeks,” she said. “We’re still a very busy workplace obviously and there’s a lot going on, but you get these small moments where I will break to feed Neve and I will continue to be briefed while I am doing that, but it just means that probably the atmosphere feels a bit different.
“I am sure having a baby around a working environment changes the tone a little bit.”
Neve is the PM’s first child and she weighed in at 3.31kg when she made her way into the world at 4.45pm on Thursday, June 21.
Ardern announced she was pregnant in January, just months after she took office as the country’s third female prime minister. At the time, she said she’d found out about the pregnancy just one week before her Labour Party formed government and that it came as a surprise to her, and her partner, as they believed they would not be able to conceive naturally.
Ardern is one of only a few female leaders to give birth while holding office – the most recent being former Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto, who had her daughter in 1990. And, despite not holding political office, Queen Elizabeth II of course welcomed youngest sons Prince Andrew and Prince Edward after she acceded to the throne.