"On your bike" will never sound quite the same again.

Two weeks past her due date, pregnant Green MP Julie Anne Genter got on her bike and cycled to hospital to be induced.

Many people encountering the news would have looked twice to be sure they'd actually seen what they thought they saw.


"And then she got on her bike and cycled to hospital to have her baby" sounds like the punch line of a rather complicated joke.

If nothing else, it was a very different sort of road show from Simon Bridges' recent excursion.

I doubt it was her partner Peter Nunn's idea. Based on my experience of women who are even a day or two past their due date, you're taking your life in your hands asking them if they'd like a cup of tea, let alone if they'd like to pedal to the labour ward.

Her Green Party co-leader James Shaw described the act as "very on brand". Who would have suspected he had such a strong sentimental streak? Let's hope he can keep his emotions under better control in future.

Not everyone was impressed. However, those wanting to bag Genter for being a woman/Green/a proponent of public transport had to squeeze really hard to find something to bemoan about the event.

But slowly, inevitably, the stale pale males struggled to their feet and shook their liver-spotted fists in her direction.

Some said it wasn't that big a deal because "she wasn't actually having contractions", as though she had to be at least four centimetres dilated for this to qualify as any kind of achievement.

And it was an electric bike. So that doesn't count, especially in Wellington where the climate and topography are so suitable for biking of all kinds.


One well-wisher pointed out that there was nothing natural or Green about being induced. The lifesaving process of natural induction is actually thousands of years old.

But perhaps they would have preferred Genter to wait until she burst.

Others drew unflattering comparisons between lollygagging Genter and African women who apparently give birth and then march back to the village with brimful pitchers of water atop their heads. A First World stereotype of Third World existence if ever there was one.

A large number of people, cannily intuiting that the minister for women may have been making a political point, wrote it off as nothing more than a publicity stunt, sullying the beauty and wonder of the birth process.

Anyone who talks about the beauty and wonder of the birth process hasn't seen a lot of babies being born.

If it was just a PR stunt, it was a particularly elaborate one, requiring organisation at a level which we're not used to seeing from the Greens.

First you have to get pregnant. Then you have to go two weeks over term. And you have to have a bike nearby. Fully charged.

Surely there are easier ways of making a point, even if international media did go crazy about the yarn.

The real significance of Genter's happy and successful delivery of a boy on the heels of the Prime Minister's own labour is that giving birth is being seen not just as natural —​ it was never anything but —​ but as something that can be incorporated in all the other rhythms of a woman's life, personal and professional.

And for the rest of us, who get a bit of the international reflected glory without having had to put in the hard yards on our own bikes, how refreshing to be noted for something as out there and inspiring as this.

How much better to have a reputation as the country where it's taken for granted that women do amazing things, rather than the country where they make the hobbits.