The New Zealand parliament floor was joined by a new face during a debate on fuel prices this week.
Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives Trevor Mallard was photographed cuddling, rocking and feeding six-week-old Tūtānekai Smith-Coffey in his parliament chair on Wednesday. The newborn, who is the son of labor lawmaker Tamati Coffey and his husband Tim, joined Coffey on his first day back at work from paternity leave.
According to reports, Mallard offered to give Coffey a break and then promptly sat back with the newborn and fed him. “There are times when I can be vaguely useful," Mallard jokingly told Reuters of the situation.
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
Other members of parliament joined in on the congratulations and circulated their own photos of the newborn on Twitter.
"I've felt really supported by my colleagues from across the House. Babies have a way of calming down the intense environment of Parliament and I think we need more of them around to remind us of the real reason we are all here," Coffey said.
Social media was also quick to chime in with responses to the heartwarming images.
Everyone in the chamber seemed to be less tense while you fed Tamati's lovely baby. There were smiles all round. I love this which doesn't happen anywhere else in the world. Thank you.— Sarah Russell (@kiwialliance) August 21, 2019
This is sending a great message that men👏can👏take👏care👏of👏babies👏 too. There's no need to be afraid of holding and feeding a baby. He looks so comfortable. Wonderul! 💖— The Amazon is on fire (@JaccHiHey) August 21, 2019
This is what a real man looks like.— Sanity (@1stgrace108) August 22, 2019
New Zealand....you might be a small country, but you have a huge lesson to teach the world! Great photo!— 💧Beau Beau (@TBeaubeau) August 21, 2019
Mallard has been incredibly vocal on his desire to make parliament a more inclusive place.
“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 to ABC News. "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.”