Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says confronting business confidence will be a priority as she returns to work after the birth of her baby Neve.

Ardern will return as the teachers are due to strike, the nurses already have, the Government remains at loggerheads with Australia over the deportations policy and the inquiry into the appointment of deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha awaits.

The National Party has also had some success in spreading a message of doom as business confidence surveys show slumps in business confidence and warnings of an economic slowdown globally.

Ardern said she intended to confront that head on, saying she knew the Government's plans for change created uncertainty and it was her job as leader to address that.


"I accept that as leader I need to come out and start giving that certainty and confidence. We are in good shape, but for me perception matters too so I really want to tackle that."

In her first month back she will deliver a major speech on the economy.

"What I want to make sure I'm marrying up and talking about much, much more is that we cannot deal our social agenda without that strong economic agenda too. So that is me really confronting the things that are coming through in those business confidence surveys.

One of the strong messages there will be that we have to modernise our economy We have to address our productivity challenge, we have to address the skills gap we have.

Now we've got a plan for each of those but with that comes change and I know that creates uncertainty. But actually it's necessary if we are going to build the economy that we need, strengthen the economy and fulfil some of the potential that exists within it."

She repeated Finance Minister Grant Robertson's argument that the fundamentals of the economy remained strong, including forecast growth, and unemployment figures.

Ardern's absence from Parliament left Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters in charge, and Ardern said he had done the role admirably.

She said she had not been tempted to intervene at any point, but conceded she would not not have called National MP Gerry Brownlee "fatty," or had a go at Australia for its flag.


"As I say, we've all got different styles."

Her return would be a continuation of Labour's agenda but would move into a "second stage" now that the Families Package was in place and things such as the Regional Growth Fund.

Ardern spoke to media for the first time today since Neve was born six weeks ago, speaking about the experience of motherhood as well as her plans when she returns to work.

She formally took back the reins as Prime Minister on Wednesday night and will move to Wellington on Saturday.