Photo of New Zealand Speaker feeding lawmaker's baby during debate goes viral

Photo of New Zealand Speaker feeding lawmaker's baby during debate goes viral
© Trevor Mallard/ Twitter

A photo is going viral online showing the Speaker of New Zealand's Parliament babysitting for a fellow parliamentary member while he presided over the country’s House of Representatives on Wednesday. 

In a photo of the moment making the rounds online, Speaker Trevor Mallard could be seen cradling and feeding a baby while overseeing a debate in the legislature.

According to the BBC, the baby, identified as Tūtānekai Smith-Coffey, is the son of Member of Parliament Tāmati Coffey and his partner, Tim Smith. He was reportedly born in July.

The debate on Wednesday reportedly marked Coffey's first since he returned to work after taking paternity leave.

“Normally the Speaker’s chair is only used by Presiding Officers but today a VIP took the chair with me. Congratulations @tamaticoffey and Tim on the newest member of your family,” Mallard said in a tweet on Wednesday that also featured photos of the moment.

Another parliamentary member, Gareth Hughes, could also be seen holding the baby in the body's chambers in a photo he tweeted Wednesday. 

“Lovely to have a baby in the House, and what a beautiful one,” he said in the tweet.

The moment earned much praise online from commenters who hailed Mallard's actions as “leadership of the highest order.”

The moment comes almost a year after New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sparked headlines last August for bringing her three-month-old daughter to a United Nations General Assembly meeting.

It also arrives months after the Speaker of Denmark's Parliament prompted backlash for telling a fellow legislator that she was “not welcome” in the Parliament’s chamber with her baby.