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.
Normally the Speaker’s chair is only used by Presiding Officers but today a VIP took the chair with me. Congratulations @tamaticoffey and Tim on the newest member of your family. pic.twitter.com/47ViKHsKkA
— Trevor Mallard (@SpeakerTrevor) August 21, 2019
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.
— Gareth Hughes (@GarethMP) August 21, 2019
In 2017, Australian Senator Larissa Waters breastfed her baby in parliament. And British politician Jo Swinson attended a debate with her baby in 2018.