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Extended parental leave improves long term health outcomes

Extended parental leave improves long term health outcomes

New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists

Wednesday 9th September, 2015

A Bill to extend paid parent leave is currently before select committee. The Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave) Amendment Bill, will extend paid parental leave from 14 weeks to six months.

The New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists (NZAP), supports the bill that would extend parental leave to 26 weeks to prioritise the nurturing and bonding needs of the baby and ensure the best possible start for every New Zealand child.

Babies arrive primed to seek out attachment, nurturing and care from one primary caregiver, usually the mother. When mother and baby form a secure and good enough bond, the foundation for emotional health, ability to form good relationships, mental wellness, educational achievement, employability and good citizenship is laid down.

“Studies conducted both in New Zealand and overseas point to a loving bond with a warm, protective and nurturing care-giver as a prime factor in resilience and brain development.” Says Lynne Holdem, New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists spokesperson for Children's Issues.

In order to achieve a secure and loving bond the prime care-giver needs to be protected from stress and have time to attune to the infant and his or her needs.

“Twenty-six weeks support to maximise the potential for a good start to life is a small investment by New Zealand tax payers which could reduce violence and other crimes, and increase the educational achievements, and healthy relationships of our next generation of children.” Says Holdem.


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