The Dom post editorial:
Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta has fired a broadside at Parliament’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.