It appears that new Speaker of the House, Trevor Mallard had no intention of messing around when he announced earlier this week that New Zealand Parliament needed to become more family friendly.
Last night, as members of Parliament debated Labour’s proposed bill to extend paid parental leave from 18 weeks to 22 weeks in July, and to 26 weeks by July 2020, Mallard shared his seat with baby Heeni – the three-month-old daughter of Labour MP Willow-Jean Prime. Heeni appeared content and sat calmly with Mallard as her mum worked.
Earlier in the day, Prime breastfed Heeni in the debating chamber which is believed to be a first for New Zealand. Earlier this year, Australian senator Larissa Waters was applauded for her attempts to normalise breastfeeding when she became the first woman to breastfeed in Australia’s Parliament.
As Mallard rocked baby Heeni in his lap, Labour’s Jenny Salesa spoke on the bill before the House. “The Paid Parental Leave and Employment bill is about recognising the importance of bonding between infants and their parents, between Speakers of the House and infants,” Salesa said.”It is about recognising our children have the best possible start in life, it is about doing what is right.”
— Chlöe Swarbrick (@_chloeswarbrick) September 28, 2017