Can we compare it to a royal baby? I think so. Royal does not mean monarchical necessarily, it means emblematic of the fine things in life. Nothing is finer than the birth of a child and nothing is more splendid the chance to enjoy the experience together.

When Jacinda Ardern appears in public with the baby in her arms she will be taking her cue from the real royals for good reason. She knows how good this is for a country. Good for her Government too, no doubt, but not nearly as good as it is for the country.

It felt like the thrill of somebody close to you having a baby, your thoughts turning to the impending birth with quietly increasing excitement as the due date arrives. After last Sunday she would have been at home climbing the walls as the days passed.

On Thursday morning we awoke to the news she had gone into hospital and like family we waited through the day until that photo appeared. Don't tell me this isn't good for us. On this there can be no argument, no cynicism, the most sour contributor to public discussion must be touched by something sweet.


Don't imagine for one moment that Jacinda's parliamentary opponents will not be sharing the pleasure. Professional politicians are much more mature about their contest than party activists or most commentators outside Parliament.

People who engage with each other daily across the debating chamber, discuss issues seriously in select committees and cross paths frequently in a place as intimate as Parliament recognise each other's humanity. In joy or sickness, it's not unusual for them to mention they got a visit or a card from an opponent that touched them deeply.

The controversies they need to court and the public criticism they expect to receive is the reason they keep the families well out of the limelight. It will be interesting to see how Jacinda handles the public interest that will follow this little girl. She says there will be a crib in her office when she returns in six weeks. Every public glimpse of madonna and child is bound to be photographed.

The Labour Party's congratulatory message, "Welcome to the team" and Andrew Little's posted photo, celebrating in a party hat, suggests some in the party are salivating at the political possibilities but they need to be careful. The public would not respond well to crass exploitation of our royal baby.

Grant Robertson called the new mother a role model for working mothers and that is where the political impact will be felt. The Prime Minister and her party will not need to labour the point. When she speaks on subjects such as parental leave, equal employment opportunities, childcare, facilities for mothers in workplaces, pay equity, career interruptions, work-life balance and much else, she can speak with implicit empathy and authority.

The next few years are probably going to see some big steps for women in the workforce.

But if Labour is re-elected it will probably have less to do with the Prime Minister's toddler, and everything to do with whether she has kept this coalition together. So far she is doing exceptionally well.

From the moment she became Prime Minister last year, her inclusive quality has been the Government's greatest asset. At weekly post cabinet press conferences she has gone out of her way to include NZ First and the Greens in her presentations. No previous Prime Minister has made the same effort and it is very impressive.


Women have their own leadership qualities. Seldom have those qualities been better display than in the United States this week when three former first ladies, Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton, spoke out against the separation of children from parents in immigration detention camps. Even the present first lady made an appeal for decency.

Theirs were probably the most powerful voices in the cries of shame and embarrassment from Americans that finally penetrated the hide of Donald Trump.

Jacinda appears to have thoroughly won the respect of Winston Peters who carries the task of keeping the coalition together over the next six weeks. It will interesting to see what happens because Labour is obviously giving its partner parties more latitude to disagree and speak independently than we have seen in previous coalitions.

But then this coalition is different from all previously. It is not led by the largest party in Parliament and the way National is holding up in the polls, Labour will need NZ First and the Greens to survive the next election. They will all be looking forward to the Prime Minister's return, baby on display.

In the meantime, we can all discuss more important things like babies' names. Will it be sensible or millennial? I vote for sensible, please.