New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern and partner get engaged

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her longtime partner Clarke Gayford have gotten engaged.

A spokesman for Ardern said on Friday the pair got engaged over the Easter break in the town of Mahia, but said any further details would be for Ardern to discuss when she next speaks to media on Monday.

Reporters on Friday noticed Ardern wearing a ring on her middle finger, a variation from the traditional ring finger.

Ardern and Gayford have a 10-month-old daughter, Neve. Ardern became just the second elected world leader in modern history to give birth while holding office last June.

Gayford is Neve's primary caregiver and a presenter on a TV fishing show.

The 38-year-old Ardern was widely praised for the compassion and leadership she showed after a gunman killed 51 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15. Ardern has since helped introduce new gun restrictions in New Zealand and spoken out about the way the gunman was able to use social media to promote his views.

Time magazine last month included Ardern on its list of the 100 most influential people in 2019. London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote in Time that Ardern's leadership after the attacks was an inspiration and she'd sent a powerful message that "those who seek to divide us will never succeed."

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