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Paid Parental Leave: Promoting State Dependence

22 July 2004
Paid Parental Leave: Promoting State Dependence

Government plans to expand its paid parental leave scheme will further promote state dependency and stifle self reliance and innovation, says Charlie Pedersen, Vice President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

"The government thinking that created paid parental leave is also creating 'Hot house Kiwis' – people that are increasingly protected from reality," he said.

"Taking money from the hands of hard-working employees and the self-employed and giving it to a group of arguably privileged employees is unfair. It penalises those who seek to be self-sufficient, plan and prepare for the future," Mr Pedersen said.

He made the comments to the Social Services Select Committee, which is hearing submissions on the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill.

The Government proposes to extend paid parental leave from 12 to 14 weeks, and extend the eligibility for paid parental leave to employees who have worked for the same employer for at least six months, rather than 12 months as at present.

Mr Pedersen said paid parental leave should be scrapped as one way to lower government expenditure to pave the way for tax cuts. The government should instead encourage people to plan their parenting future.

However, if the government insists on pressing ahead with paid parental leave, it should at least be fair to all parents.

“Thousands of young self-employed farming couples who currently struggle to run their farms around the birth of their child miss out on paid parental leave. Sharemilkers in the dairy industry are a case in point.

“If New Zealand taxpayers can afford the cost of paid parental leave, and the government has clearly decided it can, then such leave must be provided equitably," he said.

"Assurances given by the government that it would look at the possibility of offering paid parental leave to the self-employed have come to nothing," Mr Pedersen said.


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