The six-week-old baby was being cuddled by his father in the debating chamber on August 22, when the speaker offered to take care of him.
The speaker of the Parliament in New Zealand, Trevor Mallard on Wednesday did something remarkable that has caught the attention of the world. He was seen cuddling and feeding milk to a baby. The baby ‘Tutanekai’ is the son of Labour MP ‘Tamati Coffey’ and his husband who was born via a surrogate mother last month. The six-week-old baby was being cuddled by his father in the debating chamber on August 22, when the speaker offered to take care of him. Trevor performing such a task amidst the session is something which was commended globally. This is something that is breaking the stereotype related to childcare at workplaces.
While talking to Reuters, Trevor Mallard stated that “At times I can be vaguely useful.” The speaker added that he tries to assist lawmakers’ babies when possible. This came after the speaker himself relaxed the parliamentary rules in 2017 to make the workplace a more child-friendly one. Earlier, many other MPs have been seen handling babies at the parliament of New Zealand. Notably, last year, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern became the first prime minister of the country to take maternity leave and the second elected leader in the world to give birth while in office. Also, the PM’s daughter ‘Neve Te Aroha’ was in headlines during September last year, when she accompanied her mother to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Though, a Reuters report suggested that only a few New Zealanders entertain the same rights as their MPs, to equally balance work while caring for their families. A Maori lawyer ‘Tania Te Whenua’ alleged discrimination against the indigenous Maori women employee. The lawyer is working on a case for the Public Service Association which is the largest union of New Zealand. She also stated that while her children visited her at work, the reaction was not appreciable. The lawyers extended support for the family policies of the speaker of New Zealand’s Parliament.
Trevor Mallard, himself is a political veteran and is the father of three adult children. He has six grandchildren. He has high hopes of more employers following his lead. He while talking about it stated that “I discovered that a positive atmosphere develops inside the workplace with such things”. The speaker further added that he often comes across babies in the halls of power and even the indoor swimming pool of the parliament’s premises.