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Paid parental leave extension should be allowed to proceed

April 10, 2013

Paid parental leave extension should be allowed to proceed

A select committee considering a bill to extend paid parental leave has this morning been told that there are no good reasons for the Finance Minister to use his financial veto to stop the bill going through.

Several groups and individuals appeared this morning in Auckland in support of Sue Moroney’s bill to extend paid parental leave from 14 weeks to 26 weeks, including the YWCA, the Human Rights Foundation and Family First.

Deborah Morris-Travers, spokesperson for the 26 for Babies coalition, said that as support grew for an extension of paid parental leave, so too did pressure on the government not to exercise a financial veto on a bill that is supported by a majority of parties in Parliament.

“The only argument that has been run against this bill is cost, but as 26 for Babies member Family First pointed out this morning, the provisions in this bill represent 0.2 per cent or less of government spending. This view echoes that of economist Peter Harris who noted in his submission that the small cost of the bill puts it within the margin of error in government budget forecasting.”

“Parliament has been presented with extensive evidence over recent months that extending paid parental leave is in the best interest of babies, parents and the workforce."

“On the same day as UNICEF has released its international league tables on child wellbeing showing that child wellbeing is susceptible to government policy, the Government Administration Select Committee has again been reminded that the costs of extending paid parental leave need to be considered alongside the significant benefits it will bring.”

“The majority of MPs in Parliament support this bill. Exercising the financial veto would seem to be anti-democratic and short-sighted given all of the evidence pointing to the dividend to New Zealand of investing in a baby’s early years.”

“The time has come for a rethink from the Finance Minister about vetoing this bill on financial grounds. A financial veto is not appropriate on a Bill that is about the health and security of our youngest citizens,” Deborah Morris-Travers said.

Background
The UNICEF Innocenti Report Card 11 was released today. A copy is here.

The bill, Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months' Paid Leave) Amendment Bill, passed its first reading in Parliament in July last year, with the support of the Labour, Green, NZ First, Maori, Mana and United parties.

26 for Babies
A coalition of child and parent advocates, breastfeeding organisations, health bodies, and representatives of women and working women supporting an extension to paid parental leave.

www.26forbabies.org - Facebook - @26forbabies

ENDS

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