POLITICS

'Unacceptable In 2017,' NZ Labour Leader Asked About Having Kids

Like it is anyone's business.

02/08/2017 11:37 AM AEST | Updated 02/08/2017 1:43 PM AEST

CANBERRA -- It is the age old field of questions to female politicians which has no business in modern political discourse: child bearing.

The freshly-minted leader of the New Zealand opposition Labour Party, Jacinda Ardern has been asked about her baby plans less than 24 hours after Andrew Little resigned and her party elevated her to the top job.

It was posed to her first on Tuesday night by New Zealand's The Project and then ramped on on Wednesday morning radio by AM Show with panellist Mark Richardson, with the reasoning that the "country had a right to know" and that employers "should know women's baby plans before hiring them."

Just so we know exactly what was asked, this is it:

"I think this is a legitimate question for New Zealand, because she could be the Prime Minister running this country - she has our best interests at heart so we need to know these things.

"If you are the employer of a company you need to know that type of thing from the woman you are employing ... the question is, is it okay for a PM to take maternity leave while in office?"

AM Show panellist Mark Richardson

Well, Ardern had a few things to say while pointing at Richardson.

While insisting she "totally" accepts she will be asked questions about her own situation and is happy to answer, Ardern said the line of questioning for any other woman was out of line.

"For other women, it is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace," Ardern said.

"That is unacceptable in 2017. It is the woman's decision about when they choose to have children."

"It should not predetermine whether or not they get the job."

Richardson defended his statement, again pointing to the employer's right to know. Ardern followed with the best retort in these circumstances, "Would you ask a man if they are likely to have kids in the future?"

He said yes.

The follow through is keenly awaited.

The AM Show is not letting the line of questioning go, asking in an online poll: "Is it ok to ask Jacinda Ardern about possible plans to have children?"

So far, 73 percent of the respondents say "no".

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