Private PM Hipkins steps into spotlight

Incoming New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins wants to keep his family out of the spotlight and has asked for privacy for his children.

Mr Hipkins was anointed Labour leader on Sunday, taking over from Jacinda Ardern.

A political fixer and hardworking minister, Mr Hipkins, 44, will lead New Zealand as a single man after confirming his separation from wife Jade last year.

Mr Hipkins spoke about his marital status at his first press conference as Labour leader.

"I know how things go around in Wellington so I will put something on the record that will be my final comment on the matter," he said.

"Being a politician's partner and being a minister's partner ... when you're in the public spotlight as I have been, particularly during the COVID-19 response, it's bloody hard.

"A year ago, my wife and I made the decision that we would live separately, that we will do everything we can to raise our children together.

"We remain incredibly close. She is still my best friend but we have made that decision in the best interest of our family."

Father of two Mr Hipkins married his former partner in 2020 - with finance minister Grant Robertson as his best man.

He has vowed not to share photos of his family on social media and has asked local media outlets to help preserve their anonymity.

"As a member of parliament and as a public figure, I've worked really hard in the time that I have been in politics to keep my family out of the public limelight," he said.

"I've got a six-year-old son and a four-year-old daughter at school and at kindy. I want them to grow up with a typical Kiwi kid life.

"I want them to be able to make mistakes. I want them to be able to learn and to grow without five million people looking over their shoulder so I intend to keep them out of the public limelight."

Mr Hipkins asked New Zealanders to respect his children's privacy.

"You won't see pictures of them, you know on social media or in the media and so on and I simply ask New Zealanders to respect that as well," he said.