New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, right, is congratulated by her partner Clarke Gayford following her victory speech to Labour Party members at an event in Auckland, New Zealand.
Image Credit: AP

WELLINGTON: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern plans to marry her longtime partner during the southern summer.

In an interview Wednesday on the Coast radio breakfast show, Ardern said she and Clarke Gayford have finally set a date for their wedding after announcing they were engaged two years ago.

But Ardern wouldn't be drawn on the exact day other than to say it would be during the Southern Hemisphere summer, which runs from December through February.

``When I say we've got a date, that doesn't mean we've actually told anyone yet,'' Ardern said on the show. ``So, I feel like we should probably put some invites out.''

Ardern and Gayford have a 2-year-old daughter, Neve. Ardern in 2018 became just the second elected world leader in modern history to give birth while holding office. Gayford is Neve's primary caregiver and a presenter on a TV fishing show.

Ardern was asked on the show if she was going to be modern and have a bridesman at her wedding rather than the more traditional bridesmaid.

``I feel a bit too old to have a bridal party,'' said Ardern, who is 40. ``I don't know if it's just me, but for some reason I just feel like there are some things that, because I'm getting on a bit, I just need to forego.''

Ardern became New Zealand's youngest prime minister when she took office in 2017 and is one of the few elected leaders to hold office while pregnant. She returned to power last October delivering the biggest election victory for her centre-left Labour Party in half a century largely due to her government's decisive response to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.