First thoughts on Ardern’s baby news…
Unqualified good news for all concerned
The prime minister is pregnant, which means she will take some time off later this year. Ardern says the length of her leave will be six weeks. During that time, Winston Peters will be the acting prime minister.
This is good news. Children are a blessing. But apart from happiness for Ardern and her partner, there is another reason to be glad. This is an opportunity for New Zealand to demonstrate its bona fides as a mature and stable liberal democracy.
The good governance of this country should not depend on the constant availability of any one person. If a system breaks down over the temporary absence of a single individual, then that system is not fit for purpose. The prime ministership is not, and should never be, a single point of failure for the country as a whole.
Here is what will happen: the baby will be born, Ardern will take leave, the machinery of government will continue, Ardern will come back, the country will go on. In other words, the absence of the prime minister will make no discernible difference on the day-to-day lives of ordinary New Zealanders. By itself, that will be something worth celebrating.