New Zealand Speaker feeds lawmaker’s baby in Parliament

Clay Curtis
August 22, 2019

MP Tāmati Coffey's baby son Tūtānekai Smith-Coffey had a chance to sit in the big chair in Parliament on Wednesday - and it gave Speaker Trevor Mallard a chance to show off his dad skills.

Speaker Trevor Mallard posted pictures of himself with lawmaker Tamati Coffey's baby.

"Normally the Speaker's chair is only used by Presiding Officers but today a VIP took the chair with me", he wrote.

During the session, father-of-three Mr Mallard took on the role of babysitter as well as speaker.

"New 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 lovely thing I've seen in years".

Coffey announced the birth of his son, Tutanekai Smith-Coffey, in July.

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

"There's just so much confusion and so much misinformation out there", Mr Coffey said.

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After New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern brought her baby daughter - Neve - to her debut speech at the United Nations in NY, politicians are increasingly following her lead and proving that parenting and politics can go hand-in-hand.

Babies are becoming more commonplace in the corridors of power.

The same month, British MP Jo Swinson - now the Liberal Democrat leader - brought her three-month-old baby into the House of Commons chamber in London.

The rules were changed in Australia the year before to allow breastfeeding politicians in the chamber - prior to that babies were technically banned and breastfeeding mothers were given a proxy vote.

Last week, a Kenyan MP was kicked out of Parliament for bringing her five-month-old baby into the chamber.

When Mallard became Speaker in 2017, he promised to make Parliament a more family-friendly place.

Other MP's were delighted at having the baby at Parliament.

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