Jacinda Ardern has hit back at AM Show host Mark Richardson following his "totally unacceptable" comments that the country had a right to know her baby plans.

Within hours of taking on the role as leader of the Labour Party, the 37-year-old was again being asked about her desire to be a mother.

The questions have rankled some and raised debate about just how appropriate they are - despite Ardern's insistence she was happy to answer them.

"As I said last night [on The Project] I totally accept that I will be asked that ... I decided to talk about it, so I'm happy to keep responding to those questions."


However, even her tolerance was tested when AM Show host Mark Richardson said it was imperative she answer.

"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?"

Ardern pointed at Richardson as she said in 2017 it was "totally unacceptable" to say a woman should have to answer that question in the workplace.

"It is a woman's decision about when they choose to have children, it should not predetermine whether or not they are given a job, or have job opportunities."

Richardson defended his statement saying it was only right that an employer know so they could allow for that person to take a year of leave.

"I'm not saying don't employ that person."

Ardern questioned; "Would you ask a man if they are likely to have kids in the future?"


To which Richardson said yes.

The Human Rights Commission advises employers against asking questions related to "pregnancy, proposed pregnancy, contraception or family planning, or parenthood".

"These types of questions risk breaching the act as they could be seen as indicating an intention to employ, or not employ, applicants based on whether they're responsible for children or not."