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Paid Parental Leave Bill Progresses

A second attempt to get paid parental leave extended to 26 weeks has passed its first hurdle in Parliament

The first reading of the Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave and Work Contact Hours) Amendment Bill was completed by 61 to 60 with National and ACT opposed and all other parties in favour.

The bill in the name of Labour MP Sue Moroney proposes to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks. Ms Moroney said the bill would make a wise investment in children’s future by allowing parents more time with their new born babies.

National would argue it cost too much, but at $45 million cost next year it provided a positive return for families and the country, she said.

Sarah Dowie said National would oppose the bill despite it being a valid topic with paid parental leave having many benefits. National had already made extensions to paid parental leave and the bill would be too expensive in comparison to the Government’s other priorities.

In the past another bill with the same intent was voted down by a 60 to 60 vote with National and ACT opposed. On that occasion the Maori Party and Peter Dunne supported the bill, with their continued support the bill now has the support of a majority in Parliament due to Winston Peters winning the Northland by-election.

The bill was sent to the Government Administration Committee for consideration.

MPs then began debating the first reading of the Education (Charter Schools Curriculum) Amendment Bill.

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