Thursday, 19 September, 2019

Speaker feeds MP's baby in Parliament after father returns from paternity leave

Trevor Mallard New Zealand speaker cradles MP’s baby during parliament debate
Patty Aguilar | 22 August, 2019, 10:38

MP Tāmati Coffey's new baby made an appearance in Parliament today, held and bottle-fed by Speaker Trevor Mallard while presiding over debate in the House.

A photo of Speaker Trevor Mallard feeding the Waiariki MP's son has gone viral worldwide. "Congratulations tamaticoffey and Tim on the newest member of your family".

Mallard, a father of three, has shown before that he is right at home with the country's littlest citizens.

"New Zealand.you might be a small country, but you have a huge lesson to teach the world!", one Twitter user said, while another added: "That is the most handsome thing I've seen in years".

Tamati Coffey attended a debate in the Parliament with his baby for the first time after returning from paternity leave, according to the BBC.

The six-week-old son of Labour MP Tāmati Coffey and his husband, born via a surrogate mother last month, was being cuddled by his father in the debating chamber on Wednesday when the speaker offered to hold him.

"He's here and he came into this world surrounded by his village", Mr Coffey said on Instagram last month.

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In a tweet about the baby's birth, Coffey said he and his partner were "overwhelmed at the miracle of life".

Babies are becoming more commonplace in the corridors of power.

But worker rights advocates told Reuters that few New Zealanders get the same rights to balance caring for their families with work, and they hope the high-profile parliamentary babies will bring a wider change in working conditions.

In September past year, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made history by bringing her baby along to her debut speech at the United Nations in NY.

Weeks ago - footage circulated of Zuleikha Hassan, a Kenyan lawmaker, also being kicked out of parliament for bringing her baby to work.

The newborn joins many other babies in the legislature after Mallard relaxed rules in 2017 to make parliament more child-friendly.

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