New Zealand Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard perfected the art of multitasking as he bottle-fed a fellow lawmaker’s baby while presiding over a heated debate in Parliament this week.
The six-week-old baby boy belonged to Labour MP Tāmati Coffey, who had just returned from paternity leave. Coffey and his husband welcomed to the world their son Tūtānekai Smith-Coffey, born via surrogate mother, last month.
According to Reuters, Coffey was cuddling the newborn in the chamber when Mallard offered to hold him. He continued to hold the baby and even bottle-fed him through the chamber’s animated debate about fuel prices.
“Normally the Speaker’s chair is only used by Presiding Officers but today a VIP took the chair with me,” Mallard tweeted with a picture of him cradling the baby.
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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
Tūtānekai’s presence in the chamber isn’t the first instance of the government’s open-door policy to babies.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who became the second elected leader in history to give birth while holding office, brought her then 3-month-old daughter to the United Nation’s Nelson Mandela Peace Summit last year.
However, not all international governments are as child-friendly as New Zealand.
Kenyan lawmaker Zulekha Hassan was ejected from the floor of the National Assembly earlier this month after bringing her 5-month-old baby to parliament.
Hassan, who has two other children, said she had to bring the baby to work because she wasn’t able to make other arrangements and didn’t want to call out.
Several legislators walked out of parliament to protest her ouster, which coincidentally, happened during World Breastfeeding Week.
Contributing: Associated Press. Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.
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