New Zealand's largest urban bus company has apologised for the "distress" it caused an Auckland mother by kicking her off a bus for breastfeeding.
Source: 1 NEWS
Ranui resident Jamie Deane was told to get off a bus she was traveling on by the driver because a passenger objected to her breastfeeding her crying newborn.
The incident occurred on a bus from the West Auckland suburb of Henderson to Massey about 4.30pm last Friday, Fairfax media reported.
However, today NZ Bus, who ran the service, has apologised.
A NZ Bus spokesperson said they were continuing to investigate the incident, but nevertheless apologiesd that it occurred, Fairfax media reported.
"We've reminded all our drivers that NZ Bus is supportive of mothers wishing to breastfeed on board our services and will reinforce this message through our driver training programmes.
"NZ Bus apologises for the distress [the] incident caused Ms Deane and her baby."
The apology comes as public health organisation Hapai Te Hauora sharply criticised the actions of the bus driver and offered to educate all bus drivers on why breastfeeding is good.
A women's advocacy group, Women's Health Action, also started a social media campaign under the hashtag babiescantwait.
Fay Selby-Law of Hapai Te Hauora says the incident was "simply unacceptable" and that "we should be supporting our mums to breastfeed, not shaming and stigmatising them".
"I can't believe a mum and her baby were left on the side of the road in this hot weather by a publicly funded transport company ... this is a disgrace."
Ms Deane said her daughter began to cry during the trip and, to calm her she started breastfeeding.
But a passenger reportedly took offence to this and complained to the bus driver, who soon after stopped the bus on Makora Rd and requested Ms Deane get off.
"He said 'you can't be breastfeeding on a bus. That's just wrong'," the Ranui resident told Fairfax.
"I was so angry. I was fully covered and had a cloth over me. You couldn't see any skin."
Ms Deane said she was then left having to walk 20 minutes to a friend's house in the area in sweltering temperatures.
Ms Deane said she felt it was an increasing occurrence to abuse breastfeeding women in the area she lives, Ranui, and she doesn't understand the fuss.
"A lot of women around here are getting abused because of breastfeeding in public. I just don't see what the point is.
"It's just stupid how people are so offended by breastfeeding."
Ms Deane said no other passenger on the bus came to her defence as she was kicked off.