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PM must rule out sneaky Parental leave approach

Gerry Brownlee National ACC Spokesman

23 October 2000

PM must rule out sneaky approach to Paid Parental Leave

Prime Minister Helen Clark must front up and reject suggestions that Paid Parental Leave might be funded from the proposed reductions in ACC levies, National's spokesman on Accident Compensation Gerry Brownlee said today.

ACC has floated the possibility of lowering employer levies by between 23 and 28 percent. That would take the average employer contribution from $1.11 down to 80c for every $100 of payroll.

"If those savings can be passed on to business then they should be, because that money belongs to employers, not the Government," Mr Brownlee said.

"However there is growing media speculation that the Government may exploit that potential reduction in levies to fund Laila Harre's proposed Paid Parental Leave scheme.

"The idea is being floated that between 15 and 18 cents of that proposed ACC levy reduction might be earmarked for the Harre scheme. That would still mean employers ended up paying for the scheme.

"Helen Clark has ruled out the possibility of funding Paid Parental Leave through a levy on employers, and she must rule out this new possibility, which would be nothing more than a levy snuck in through the back door.

"At a time when business is struggling with a volatile dollar, high fuel costs and hostile Government legislation they deserve certainty on this issue.

"I think it is appropriate, on the eve of the business forum, to call on the Prime Minister to rule out this new opportunistic option.

"If a levy on business to fund Paid Parental Leave is not acceptable, and it isn't, then the Government must reject this new idea, which is simply a levy in disguise," Gerry Brownlee said.

Ends

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