New Zealand speaker cradles baby during parliament debate

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New Zealand’s House of Representatives welcomed a special guest during Wednesday’s parliamentary debates: an infant, who made his debut in the speaker of the House’s seat.

New Zealand Speaker Trevor Mallard cradled the baby boy, who belonged to his colleague, Member of Parliament Tāmati Coffey, according to BBC News. Mallard is a father of three, so he was a natural and fed the baby a bottle during the debate.

Coffey had just returned from paternity leave after his son, with partner Tim Smith, was born in July. This was the first time Coffey brought his son to a parliamentary debate. The baby was born via surrogate and is biologically Smith’s.

The photo of Mallard holding the baby boy went viral. In an interview with New Zealand’s Newshub, Coffey said he felt “really supported by my colleagues from across the House.” He is not the first politician from the country to bring his baby to work. 

In 2017, Australian Senator Larissa Waters breastfed her baby in parliament. And British politician Jo Swinson attended a debate with her baby in 2018.

New Zealand’s own Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also made history by bringing her baby to her United Nations speech in New York. Ardern was just the second world leader to give birth while in office.

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