New Zealand’s leader hits back over baby questions _97160293_e4055510-a78f-4ed1-91f8-22e3add664e8

New Zealand’s new opposition leader has said it is unacceptable for women in the workplace to be asked about their motherhood plans, after she was quizzed on TV about whether she wanted a child, according to BBC.

Jacinda Ardern, 37, was elected leader of the Labour party on Tuesday after Andrew Little stepped down.

Ms Ardern is the youngest person to lead the party and the second woman.

The questions have sparked a fierce sexism debate in the country, which is due to hold an election in September.

Late on Tuesday, hours into her new job, Ms Ardern appeared on current affairs programme The Project.

She was asked by the host Jesse Mulligan whether she felt she had to choose between progressing her career and having children.

“I’ve got a question and we’ve been discussing today whether or not I’m allowed to ask it,” said Mr Mulligan before proceeding.

Ms Ardern has previously spoken about how wanting a family has made her think carefully about pursuing high level positions.

She replied: “I have no problem with you asking me that question because I have been very open about discussing that dilemma because I think probably lots of women face it.”

“For me, my position is no different to the woman who works three jobs, or who might be in a position where they are juggling lots of responsibilities.”

‘Totally unacceptable’

However, in a second interview on Wednesday morning, Mr Ardern was again pushed on the subject.

A host on The AM Show, Mark Richardson, said New Zealanders had the right to know when choosing a prime minister whether that person might take maternity leave.