A One-Month-Old Baby Took Over The Speaker’s Chair In New Zealand Parliament

The New Zealand Parliament had a special guest onto the chamber floor- a tiny tot. The country’s parliamentary speaker Trevor Mallard held and fed the one-month-old son of lawmaker Tāmati Coffey while presiding over a debate. Mr Mallard, a father of three, tweeted photos of not only holding the baby but also comfortably giving him a bottle as he tweeted, “Normally the speaker’s chair is only used by presiding officers but today a VIP took the chair with me”.

Little Tūtānekai Smith-Coffey was brought into the House of Representatives by his father, the Labour MP for Waiariki, on his first day back at work since taking paternity leave. The six-week-old son of Coffey and his husband, born via a surrogate mother last month was being cuddled by his father in the debating chamber when the speaker offered to hold him. The baby even had his own share of speech in the Parliament as a gurgle of agreement followed from Tūtānekai Smith-Coffey after Mallard warned a lawmaker that their time had run out. Not only did many lawmakers support this act, but praises also flooded in social media for Mallard and Coffey as many called for encouragement of such behaviour at work.

This isn’t the first time the New Zealand Parliament saw a baby in the august house. Last year, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made history becoming the first world leader in nearly 30 years to have a child while in office. She later returned to her job, while her partner, Clarke Gayford, became a stay-at-home dad.

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