Dom Post on babies in Parliament

May 22nd, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom post editorial:

 MP has fired a broadside at ’s rules after she found herself stuck in the debating chamber late at night with her 5-month-old baby.

She was aiming at the wrong target.

Instead of having Parliament’s standing orders in her sights, she should have trained them on her party colleagues.

Labour talks the talk on family-friendly workplaces, but it appears it is not so good at walking the walk when it comes to helping a breastfeeding colleague, even one as senior and respected as Ms Mahuta.

Exactly. They have 9 proxies they can use every day. They have only one MP with an infant. Plus as they are not in Government, they can even vote with reduced numbers without consequence.

If Ms Mahuta felt she should be among those whose presence was not required, then the correct place for her to have directed her complaint was chief whip Chris Hipkins, who organises the roster and should have been alert to the high likelihood of Parliament going into urgency after Thursday’s Budget, and her Labour colleagues.

All it would have taken for her to have the night off would have been for Mr Hipkins to give her priority or for just one of those Labour MPs who was excused to have offered to step in and take her place. Surely, Ms Mahuta would have returned the favour when her circumstances allowed?

To be fair to Hipkins, it has been reported she originally had leave for Friday, but asked to swap it. I’m not sure all the blame is with the Whips. To some degree what we are seeing is a continuation of Labour’s internal warring – it is no coincidence that Mahuta is part of the marginalised Cunliffe faction and she has no love for the party leadership and whips after her demotion.

After Ms Mahuta’s complaint, Speaker David Carter is examining whether even more can be done. In the meantime, Labour, the champion of family-friendly workplaces, can help Ms Mahuta no end by practising what it preaches.

A fair point.

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20 Responses to “Dom Post on babies in Parliament”

  1. kowtow (6,706 comments) says:

    “Family friendly workplaces”

    That’s the problem isn’t it? The left being allowed to frame the debate as always.

    The workplace is just that. It’s about work …….not family.

    The home is the place for family,work is for work.

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  2. Paulus (2,296 comments) says:

    Labour should learn that Mahuta is valuable to them being really one of the chosen.

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  3. Andrei (2,430 comments) says:

    We aint gonna see “family friendly” supermarkets with minimum wage check out operators with nursing infants at their tills any time soon, now are we?

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  4. kowtow (6,706 comments) says:

    Andrei

    The most “family friendly” work places are the ones most subsidised by the taxpayer……….funny how that happens?

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  5. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    WILL SOMEBODY PLEEEEEEEEAAAAAASSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEE THINK OF THE CHILDREN !!!!!

    There, saved you the trouble Judith ;)

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  6. alloytoo (337 comments) says:

    “Family friendly workplaces”

    Tend to be generational family businesses.

    Precisely the sort of businesses labour hates with a passion.

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  7. davidp (3,320 comments) says:

    So who were the nine Labour MPs that took the night off, leaving Mahuta holding the baby? Name and shame them!

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  8. Elaycee (4,067 comments) says:

    I really think Mahuta is (ahem) milking this issue for all it’s worth.

    The reality, of course is that it’s just a storm in a D cup.

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  9. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    The most “family friendly” work places are the ones most subsidised by the taxpayer……….funny how that happens?

    So you have a source for that, or are you just repeating your biases as fact?

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  10. dime (8,752 comments) says:

    family friendly work places arent just about the workers and their dependent children. family friendly work places are about the entire community.

    if elected in 2014, Labour will introduce “kiwi kare”.

    kiwi kare will help employers cover the costs of making their work places family friendly. for every dollar a business spends bring their work place up to a minimum standard of a community/ family friendly work place, the government will contribute five dollars.

    this will be funded by a new tax levy on those on high incomes.

    kiwi kare isnt just about the family, it is about getting the entire whanau involved. mums and dads spending ore time with their kids. grandparents wont be forgotten either.

    this is all about families and the community.

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  11. PaulL (5,775 comments) says:

    Most of the time a family friendly workplace is one that lets you have some control over your working hours, a bit of flexibility, and doesn’t at short notice demand that you work at times when you might have other commitments.

    These are also things that many people would like, not just nursing mothers.

    These aren’t necessarily attributes of parliament though. Parliament frequently has late night sessions held, and gives little control.

    I think the current rules, which allow 25% of people to be away, are quite similar to what other businesses do to deal with these pressures. However, in my experience, another attribute of a workplace that attempts to give people control back is that they don’t run processes that actively slow down the workplace or drag out things that should be quick. Given that it’s typically the opposition that drag things out, not to mention minor parties and unknown MPs often filling up question time or debates with mindless crap, perhaps again the Labour party should be being asked some questions about why late night sittings were occurring at all.

    To put it another way, if you went through what parliament did every day and did a time and motion study, or a value add study, you could eliminate an enormous amount of crap. You’d probably never need to have late night sittings. The problem is that some of that crap is only most of the time crap, and then sometimes actually useful in holding the govt to account or protecting people’s rights. So some of it needs to stay.

    All of which is a long-winded way of saying that the nature of being in parliament is that you actually have to be there sometimes. And having a baby doesn’t give you a free pass on that.

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  12. BeaB (1,948 comments) says:

    Where was dad?

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  13. stigie (630 comments) says:

    Is there a dad ?

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  14. mara (639 comments) says:

    Give dad a medal for bravery!

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  15. kowtow (6,706 comments) says:

    skrewbone

    I’m not writing an academic fucken treatise that requires citation or sourcing.This is a blog.

    Want an example of tax payer subsidised great lifestyle occupations with childcare laid on…….think universities.

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  16. PhilP (139 comments) says:

    Stigie says;
    “Is there a dad ?”

    Had to be at the r**ting stage ole chap. The mind boggles after that!!!

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  17. KapitiCoast (103 comments) says:

    Darian Fenton got a hubby?, Sue Moroney got one?…..THESE are the guys that deserve a medal (will admit Mahuta’s hubby deserves one also, but i’m sure he has a cushy ‘Maori’ job somewhere in Govt due to his ‘connections’ and no medal required as obviously they too tight for a baby sitter)

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  18. RightNow (6,338 comments) says:

    When I signed my latest employment contract I read through all the conditions of employment, including working hours, and made sure I was prepared to accept them before I signed.

    What makes her case special?

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  19. Steve (North Shore) (4,323 comments) says:

    RightNow,
    Her case is special because she is Moari, and Moari are special

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  20. mara (639 comments) says:

    KapitiCoast. Medals apart, the conception of some babies really does not bear thinking about.

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