New Zealand speaker feeds lawmaker's baby during debate in Parliament

  22 August 2019    Read: 2846
 New Zealand speaker feeds lawmaker

The New Zealand Parliament invited a special guest onto the chamber floor Wednesday -- a newborn baby.

The country's parliamentary speaker Trevor Mallard held and fed the one-month-old son of lawmaker Tāmati Coffey while presiding over a debate.

"Normally the speaker's chair is only used by presiding officers but today a VIP took the chair with me," Mallard tweeted, along with a photo of him bottle-feeding the baby, whose father had just returned from paternity leave and was sat close by.

Videos show Mallard rocking the baby as he listened to the debate. At one point, he warns a lawmaker that their time had run out, followed by a gurgle of agreement from the baby.

People on social media were quick to praise Mallard and Coffey. "Thank you for normalizing the family unit," one person tweeted in response to Mallard's photo. "We need to see more of this. Work places need to adapt to enable this behavior."

Another Twitter user said: "New might be a small country, but you have a huge lesson to teach the world!"

Many lawmakers were just as supportive. Gareth Hughes, a Green Party parliamentary member, posted a photo of Mallard holding up and smiling at the baby. "Lovely to have a baby in the House, and what a beautiful one," Hughes tweeted.

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