Labour's male MPs have today leaped into the furore over whether leader Jacinda Ardern should be questioned about her plans to have children, saying it is sexist and she should not be asked.

But Ardern herself has taken no offence and told reporters at Parliament that she was the one who raised the issue in public in the first place.

Media including the New Zealand Herald and Newshub shows The Project and The AM Show have asked about her plans to have children.

The Herald did so on the basis that in the past she has said one of the reasons she was not aiming to be Prime Minister was because it would be tough to do that and be a mother.


Yesterday she said she was just taking one day at a time "and I'll see where this job takes me in terms of balancing other elements of my life as well".

On TV3's The AM show she said "I totally accept that I will be asked that question because I chose to be honest about it ... I decided to talk about it. It was my choice so that means I am happy to keep responding to those questions."

It was not an inappropriate question "because I opened myself up to it but for other women it is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace".

The AM Show sports presenter Mark Richardson said employers had a right to ask women if they were planning to have a family before hiring them.

When the issue was raised in a stand-up at Parliament before she and deputy leader Kelvin Davis headed into the House, her response was to ask Davis if he had ever been asked, which he had not.

"I just think it is a sexist, stupid comment to make, and there's no place ... in 2017 to ask a woman those sorts of questions."

She again said that her circumstances were different because she had chosen to talk about it.

Rimutaka MP Chris Hipkins said there was a double standard operating.


"It's time to get over it. This is absolutely pathetic that anyone is even questioning whether someone could be an MP or Prime Minister based on whether or not they are likely to have children," he said.

"No one has even asked if I have children or whether having children has had any impact on my ability to do my job. It hasn't and no more or less so than it would for a man or a woman".

Newshub's Paddy Gower is delivered some pom-poms by Brownlee after his coverage of Jacinda Ardern's appointment as Labour leader

Meanwhile, Cabinet Minister Gerry Brownlee today illustrated the sensitivity National has over coverage of Jacinda Ardern's elevation to the leadership yesterday.

On his way to Question Time Brownlee shook the hand of Newshub political editor Patrick Gower with an envelope marked "Cheerleader in chief" and inside were two sets of tassles, one red and one blue.

The note from him referred to Gower's "unbridled excitement" yesterday and he was including a blue one "in the hope that one day you may find similar enthusiasm for its use".