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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden gets engaged to father of her child

By
Nicholas Sakelaris
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden is engaged to her longtime partner Clarke Gayford, the father of her child. Photo by Sarah Robson/EPA-EFE 
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden is engaged to her longtime partner Clarke Gayford, the father of her child. Photo by Sarah Robson/EPA-EFE 

May 3 (UPI) -- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden is engaged to her longtime partner Clark Gayford, a television star who hosts a fishing show.

News of the engagement broke after journalists spotted Arden wearing a ring at a public event Friday. Spokesman Andrew Campbell said she's been wearing the ring since Easter but didn't give details of the proposal.

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Gayford takes care of the couple's 10-month-old daughter, Neve Gayford, while Arden, 38, leads the government. Her pregnancy last year made her the first elected leader to give birth while in office since Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto in 1990.

Earlier this year, she was asked by the BBC while visiting London whether she would pop the question herself rather than wait for Gayford.

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"Absolutely, I'm a feminist, but I want to put him through the pain and torture of having to agonize about that question himself," Arden said. "That's letting him off the hook, absolutely not," she joked.

Arden and Gayford have homes in the capital of Wellington and an Auckland suburb.

The couple met six years ago when Gayford went to parliament to complain about proposed security legislation.

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Arden was thrust onto the world stage March 15 when a gunman opened fire in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 50 people. The country reacted immediately, passing a ban on semi-automatic weapons and magazines and ammunition that could modify a gun into a semi-automatic weapon.

"We are ultimately here because 50 people died and they do not have a voice," Arden said. "We in this House are their voice and today we have used that voice wisely."

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