New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed New Zealand’s new paid parental leave program online with her newborn baby.
“I’m incredibly excited that we finally have this package in place, I was waiting for everyone to say that I look tired. I promise I am not too bad — I actually just don’t have any makeup on, so that’s why I probably have a bit more bags under the eyes than usual,” she stated in the video. “But we are doing great, we’re doing really great.”
The Families Package increases paid parental leave from 18 to 22 weeks, and every baby born on or after July 1 will receive $60 each week until they turn one. Low and middle-income families can keep that benefit until the child turns three.
“I’m really proud of it,” said Ardern. “You know, I think of all the things that people ask me that we’ve done since we’ve been in government, this is the thing that I am most proud of.”
The program aims to get 64,000 children out of poverty by 2020 and make New Zealand the “best country in the world to raise a family.” Ardern’s video got more than 3,000 comments, with most people applauding her.