New Zealand MP Trevor Mallard
New Zealand MP Trevor Mallard
Photo Credit: Twitter

Auckland: New Zealand's parliament speaker is perhaps better practised at quieting MPs than calming babies, but images of the powerful politician doing exactly that went viral this week.

Trevor Mallard, the speaker of the country's House of Representatives, was filmed bottle-feeding and calming the one-month-old son of a fellow politician on Wednesday.

Mallard later shared the images, tweeting: "Today a VIP took the chair with me." The photographs and film went viral, with many praising the high-ranking politician.

Tutanekai Smith-Coffey is the son of Labour MP Tamati Coffey, who returned to parliament that day after his paternity leave, and who tweeted: "I JUST LOVE HIM!!" Tutanekai is the biological son of his partner, Tim Smith, and was born by surrogate.

Other MPs obviously enjoyed the newborn's visit to parliament too. Green party politician Golriz Ghahraman tweeted: "Who needs to see this today? Every single last one of us, that's who." "Lovely to have a baby in the House, and what a beautiful one," said Gareth Hughes, another Green MP.

In July, Coffey tweeted his joy at his son's birth, writing: "Mum doing awesome. Dads overwhelmed at the miracle of life." Fathers can currently enjoy 22 weeks of paid paternity leave, but under changes introduced by prime minister Jacinda Ardern, it will be extended to 26 weeks next year.

Ardern made similar headlines after giving her maiden speech to the United Nations accompanied by her newborn daughter Neve Te Aroha in 2018.


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