Baby sits on Speaker's lap as Paid Parental Leave discussed in NZ Parliament

Speaker Trevor Mallard with three-month-old Heeni.
Speaker Trevor Mallard with three-month-old Heeni. Photo credit: Parliament TV.

A baby sat on the lap of the Speaker as an extension to Paid Parental Leave was agreed upon with unity rarely seen in New Zealand's Parliament.

All but one Member of Parliament supported the bill that will increase Paid Parental Leave to 26 weeks by July 2020. It was opposed only by David Seymour, the sole MP for free market liberal party ACT. 

The baby is three-month-old Heeni, the daughter of new MP for Labour, Willow-Jean Prime.

Labour's Willow-Jean Prime with Heeni on September 25.
Labour's Willow-Jean Prime with Heeni on September 25. Photo credit: Getty

Heeni was a regular on the Northland campaign trail, and was at her mother's side during the new Government's formal introduction to Parliament.

When Mr Mallard was selected as Speaker on Tuesday, he promised to make Parliament more family friendly.

Babies are very much present in the halls of New Zealand's Parliament. New father Chris Penk's baby Austin was born just three days before the election and Kiri Allan of Labour's Hiwa-i-te-rangi was born during the campaign.

Former MPs Katherine Rich of National and the Greens' Holly Walker have spoken of the challenges of caring for a new baby while in Parliament. 

Newshub.

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