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17 Sep 2019 13:16
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  •   Home > News > Politics

    New Zealand parliamentary Speaker cradles and feeds MP's baby during debate

    Video from the debate shows Speaker Trevor Mallard rocking the baby as he warns an MP his speaking time has expired.

    Photos and video of New Zealand's parliamentary Speaker cradling and bottle-feeding an MP's baby during a debate have gone viral.

    Tamati Coffey, New Zealand's MP for Waiariki, brought his newborn son into Parliament for a debate after returning from paternity leave.

    Speaker Trevor Mallard decided to take on some babysitting duties in addition to his presiding role.

    Video from the chamber shows him rocking the baby as he warns an MP his speaking time has expired.

    Mr Mallard tweeted pictures of himself nursing the infant as he presided over the debate.

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

    He congratulated Mr Coffey and his husband on the newest member of their family.

    Baby Tutanekai? was born in July via a surrogate mother to Mr Coffey and his husband Tim Smith.

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

    "Mum doing awesome. Dad's overwhelmed at the miracle of life."

    Babies are becoming more commonplace in the corridors of power.

    Last year, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner Clark Gayford took their baby daughter Neve to a peace summit at the United Nations General Assembly.

    In 2017, Australian Greens senator Larissa Waters made history when she became the first politician to breastfeed her baby on the floor of Federal Parliament.

    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.

    But not all parliaments are so family-friendly.

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

    Zuleika Hassan was told "you must get out of the house immediately", as "strangers" are not allowed in the chamber.

    Other female MPs left with her, and she lamented there was no creche or nursery to leave her child while she performed her parliamentary duties.

    © 2019 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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