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Midwives welcome new support for parents

The New Zealand College of Midwives welcomes the new financial support that parents will receive through the Best Start scheme and other measures in the Families Package to be introduced from today (1 July).

“Midwives see many families who are struggling financially and some in very dire need. All extra financial support for parents is welcome,” says Karen Guilliland, Chief Executive of the New Zealand College of Midwives.

The Best Start scheme will pay $60 a week in the form of a tax credit to parents of babies due on or after today. This will add $3,120 a year to family incomes and will make a real difference at a time when household budgets are stretched, says Ms Guilliland. Most parents of new babies will be eligible for the payment regardless of income until their child is a year old.

If the household income is less than $79,000 they will continue to receive $60 a week until the child turns three. Best Start payments start when paid parental leave payments come to an end.

“Many mothers need to return to work sooner after the birth of a child than they would like because they cannot make ends meet otherwise. This can limit the time that a mother has to learn and feel confident with mothering and breastfeeding in particular.

We are confident that Best Start and other elements of the Families Package will provide a higher level of support for mothers to recover and parents and whānau to get to know their newborns. More time is also likely to encourage women to breastfeed as they wish and to help both parents focus on parenting with a minimum of financial strain.”

The Inland Revenue has provided information on Best Start in the current edition of the College’s members’ magazine to make midwives aware of the scheme and how parents can apply.

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