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Correction Means Paid Parental Leave Bill Progresses

The correction of a vote in last night’s debate on Sue Moroney’s paid parental leave bill means it has now completed its second reading and will progress to its committee stage on the next Members’ Day.

When Parliament resumed today at 2pm Maori Party Leader Te Ururoa Flavell sought leave for the Maori Party votes to be cast in favour meaning the bill was read a second time. There was no objection.

Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee said there had been difficult issues last night and a new precedent had been set for correcting votes of this nature by the use of leave and it should be looked at by the Business Committee.

Speaker David Carter said leave had been sought to correct votes previously, but not with the ramifications of last night’s incident and it should be looked at.

Last night the vote on the second reading was 63 to 58 with National, Maori Party, and ACT opposed to the bill. There was some confusion with the vote as Labour claimed the Maori Party had pledged continuing support for the bill, but National whips remained firm they had the three votes.

It has been indicated Flavell made a mistake in telling National to vote against the bill as he rushed to make it to the birth of his first grandchild.

The correction means the Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave) Amendment Bill progresses by 61 to 60.

The bill extends paid parental leave to 26 weeks. The Government has indicated it will use a financial veto on the bill as it believes it is too expensive and it prefers the more modest extension included in this year’s Budget.

It may not be necessary to use this option in this Parliament as there are a maximum of three members’ days left and this could be reduced if the Government elects to use urgency to clear legislation ahead of rising for the election.

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