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House speaker babysits MP’s new baby in New Zealand Parliament

Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef delivers details around the Liberal governments plans to introduce a Sharing Parental Leave program.

New Zealand‘s parliamentary speaker’s chair had a special guest during a debate in the country’s House of Representatives on Wednesday.

Member of Parliament Tamati Coffey welcomed a baby boy via surrogate with his partner, Tim Smith, back in July.

The new dad marked his return from paternity leave this week by taking his by son to his first debate in the House on Wednesday. But the little tyke soon became a handful, and Tamati needed help.

READ MORE: Canadian men least likely to take paternity leave due to financial concerns: report

That’s when he passed off his newborn to Speaker Trevor Mallard.

Mallard, a father of three, shared two photos of himself holding and feeding Coffey’s baby — all while running the show.

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“Normally the Speaker’s chair is only used by Presiding Officers but today a VIP took the chair with me,” he tweeted. “Congratulations @tamaticoffey and Tim on the newest member of your family.”

Green Party MP Gareth Hughes took to Twitter to share a sweet photo of Coffey holding up his baby boy.

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“Lovely to have a baby in the House, and what a beautiful one @tamaticoffey,” Hughes wrote.

The moment has clearly captured the hearts of many, with one person thanking them for “normalizing the family unit” on social media.

One Twitter user said this sends a great message to other fathers who wish to be their baby’s primary caretaker.

“New Zealand…you might be a small country, but you have a huge lesson to teach the world,” another wrote.

Journalist and medical student Amy Coopes tweeted: “I have something in my eye.” Another witness in Parliament said the mood changed as soon as the baby was present.

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“Everyone in the chamber seemed to be less tense while you fed Tamati’s lovely baby,” user Sarah Russell tweeted. “There were smiles all around. I love this which doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world. Thank you.”

READ MORE: New parental leave policy that includes fathers will arrive earlier than expected, in March 2019

It was another significant parenting moment during what has become a progressive session of New Zealand’s Parliament.

Many applauded New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last year when she continued to lead her country while pregnant. She later became the second-ever elected leader to give birth while in office.

WATCH: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern announces her pregnancy in January 2018

New Zealand’s prime minister pregnant with first child
New Zealand’s prime minister pregnant with first child

Back in 2016, New Zealand changed what was originally known as “maternity leave” to “parental leave,” thus including fathers, as well as seasonal employees or individuals who recently changed jobs in the law.

This change also saw an extension of the leave from 16 to 18 weeks, according to their government website.

On March 27, Canada introduced the option of five to eight weeks of additional parental leave for the “other parent” as part of the roll out of new parental sharing benefits.

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It was originally announced in the 2018 federal budget and is for two-parent families — including adoptive and same-sex parents — who share parental benefits.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca