New Zealand parliament speaker soothes baby as debate rages

In this Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, image from video, New Zealand House Speaker Trevor Mallard, center rear, cradles lawmaker Tamati Coffey's baby, Tutanekai Smith-Coffey, in his arms while presiding over a debate in parliament in Wellington, New Zealand. Mallard said Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, he’s been trying to make parliament a more baby-friendly place since taking on the role nearly two years by adding baby chairs, family rooms and soon, a slide. He’s also increased the flexibility around family leave for lawmakers. (Parliament TV via AP)
In this Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, image from video, New Zealand House Speaker Trevor Mallard bottle-feeds lawmaker Tamati Coffey's baby, Tutanekai Smith-Coffey, while presiding over a debate in parliament in Wellington, New Zealand. Mallard said Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, he’s been trying to make parliament a more baby-friendly place since taking on the role nearly two years by adding baby chairs, family rooms and soon, a slide. He’s also increased the flexibility around family leave for lawmakers. (Parliament TV via AP)
In this Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, image from video, New Zealand House Speaker Trevor Mallard cradles lawmaker Tamati Coffey's baby, Tutanekai Smith-Coffey, in his arms while presiding over a debate in parliament in Wellington, New Zealand. Mallard said Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, he’s been trying to make parliament a more baby-friendly place since taking on the role nearly two years by adding baby chairs, family rooms and soon, a slide. He’s also increased the flexibility around family leave for lawmakers. (Parliament TV via AP)
In this Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, image from video, New Zealand House Speaker Trevor Mallard bottle-feeds lawmaker Tamati Coffey's baby, Tutanekai Smith-Coffey, while presiding over a debate in parliament in Wellington, New Zealand. Mallard said Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, he’s been trying to make parliament a more baby-friendly place since taking on the role nearly two years by adding baby chairs, family rooms and soon, a slide. He’s also increased the flexibility around family leave for lawmakers. (Parliament TV via AP)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — The man who presides over New Zealand's parliament has been called a baby whisperer.

He was in action again this week, gently rocking, bottle feeding and burping a colleague's infant as a lawmaker ranted about gas prices.

Speaker Trevor Mallard held baby Tutanekai for about 15 minutes during a fiery general debate Wednesday after spotting lawmaker Tamati Coffey with his 6-week-old son.

Mallard said Friday he's been trying to make parliament a more baby-friendly place by adding baby chairs, family rooms and soon, a slide. He's also increased the flexibility around family leave for lawmakers.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in 2018 became just the second elected world leader in modern history to give birth while holding office after having daughter Neve.

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