(WELLINGTON, New Zealand) — The speaker of New Zealand’s parliament, Trevor Mallard, cradled and fed a bottle to a Member of Parliament’s baby boy during a general debate.
Tweeting a photo of himself feeding MP Tamati Coffey’s son in the speaker’s seat, Mallard said: “Normally the Speaker’s chair is only used by Presiding Officers but today a VIP took the chair with me.”
He then congratulated the boy’s parents, Member of Parliament Tamati Coffey and his partner Tim Smith, “on the newest member of [their] family.”
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
Mallard told ABC News that inclusivity is something that he’s been focused on since becoming speaker. “When I became speaker I made it clear that I wanted the parliament to be much more family-friendly than it had been,” he said. “And a big part of that was to encourage a bigger range of MPs over time to join the parliament – in particular younger women. It’s my view that parliaments are better when they’re a reflection of society. And to do that they have to be family-friendly, otherwise you exclude groups.”
Coffey announced the birth of his son, Tutanekai, in July, saying in a tweet that he and his husband were “overwhelmed at the miracle of life.”