Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Flavell: Parental Leave Amendment Bill

Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Paid Parental Leave for Self-Employed Persons) Amendment Bill 2005

Te Ururoa Flavell,

Member of Parliament for Waiariki

Tuesday 6 December 2005; Parliamentary Debate

The Maori Party believes there is no greater responsibility and honour than that of raising the next generations.

The privilege of parenting should be one that all parties seek to protect and to support - through a variety of means, including Bills such as this.

This is not to say that one must always be paid to undertake duties as a result of choosing to continue the existence of the Human Race.

And for the Maori Party - our desire for our people to go forth and multiply.

Our policy commitment is to strengthen and support whanau to take up their responsibilities for child rearing.

The Maori Party believes that parents, solo or couples, grandparents, aunties and uncles should have the choice to stay home and look after their children - that is their choice. We do not see this another welfare payment, in fact, it must not be. Because despite anything that might be said, welfare is a net that entangles one.

There are alternatives to welfare. We are supportive of the concept for reduced taxation if the family income is under the poverty line.

1.9 million taxpayers are on an income of $25,000 or less. These people are paying $3.5 billion in tax while the government is accumulating surpluses of $4 billion to $7 billion per year.

If we could use $1.75 billion of the $3.5 billion of those 1.9 million taxpayers, to give a tax discount of 50 percent to our low income people, this could achieve significant changes in the welfare and well-being of these people, and they could achieve choice.

Moving to the group that stands most to benefit, from this next Bill being introduced today.

The primary aim of the Bill is to amend the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 to extend the 14 week paid parental leave scheme to self-employed individuals who are not currently covered.

It is interesting to note that women are significantly under-represented amongst the self-employed, particularly Maori women.

Industry NZ has found that only around 44% of applicants seeking Enterprise Awards grants were women and only 8% of applicants had identified themselves as Maori.

The December 2000 Household Labour Force Survey reported only 4500 self-employed Maori women, about 6.4% of the total number of self-employed women.

In addition, 1300 Maori women were self-employed and employing others, which was only 3.3% of the total number of women in this category.

Although we are very surprised to see Maori women are under-represented in this area - we should not be, because we know from bitter experience how difficult it is for Maori to access loan facilities to enable them to give substance to their entrepreneurial talents. They also lack the material assets from which they can borrow.

That Maori, and Maori women in particularly are entrepreneurial, can not be disputed.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) now covers 41 countries and is the largest survey of entrepreneurship undertaken in the world.

It is ironical that Maori are more likely to be necessity entrepreneurs (forced to start a business due to job loss or redundancy) than non-Maori or the global average. One has to ask, was it necessary to have a necessity to achieve international recognition as being entrepreneurial. While we are supportive of the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Bill, it might dull the entrepreneurial spirit, and that would be another irony.

Within the GEM Survey, more Maori women (83 per cent) than men (30 per cent) identify themselves as opportunity entrepreneurs (spotting a business opportunity).

Again, we question the irony in this international achievement. Maori women are successful at spotting a business opportunity, but perhaps up until the time of this legislation, were unable to act on the opportunity because they lacked resources - including parental leave and parental leave payments - to maintain a decent standard of living.

We are optimistic that this legislation will help to do something about this, and will ensure that these women can maintain their entrepreneurial spirit and enterprises by the assistance this Bill will give them.

Maori women were found to be remarkably more entrepreneurial than non-Maori New Zealand women and the global GEM female.

Female entrepreneurs account for 13 per cent of the general Maori population, compared to 8.7 per cent amongst non-Maori and 6.4 per cent of the GEM world.

Again, with all the success being heralded overseas, it is sobering that despite such talents, the Ministry of Social Development's latest social report reports that inequalities remain all too real.

It notes that hourly wage and salary rates for Maori still trail European rates - $13.76 against $16 - and literacy skills and educational achievement are also lower.

This is an indictment on our national and international standing, yet again.

It is to our national shame that Professor Stavenhagen, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples, found only two weeks ago, that “There is also widespread concern that the gap in social and economic conditions is actually growing larger and that an increasing proportion of Maori are being left behind?”

The Government’s own figures reveal the unemployment rate for Maori has steadily increased over the last year from an actual rate of 8.3% in September 2004 to 9.1% in September 2005; with the unemployment rate for Pakeha which has steadily decreased over that same period.

All of these figures go to show, that despite the international recognition of the entrepreneurial spirit of Maori women, much still has to be done to address the inequities within our society.

So to this extent, the Maori Party supports the introduction of this Bill as being one such means to address these inequities.

The Bill is consistent with Maori Party kaupapa that underscores the importance of whanau financial security, and its implication of assistance for whanau when a parent is temporarily out of the paid workforce - paid out of the annual tax take that they have contributed to.

A question we have around this Bill, is whether it is possible for the Bill to include those in multiple and casual employment.

There are criteria contained that restrict eligibility to mean one must be working at least 10 hours per week in concurrent employment; and also that any break between consecutive types of work is only thirty days or less.

We would like to know what this will actually mean for self-employed persons in real terms.

Parenting is important. The Maori Party applauds this Bill as it supports parenting for those people who are also wealth creators, and creators of employment.

Tena tatou.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On What We Could Do For Hong Kong, If Only We Dared

There has been something repulsive about PM Jacinda Ardern’s assurances that our joint 5 Eyes criticism of China’s actions over Hong Kong – and China’s harsh reaction – are all well understood on both sides. According to Ardern, it has been a case of us saying the sort of things we’ve said before, them acknowledging our need to do so, and then them responding much as we would expect them to do. All neat and tidy. Frankly, if all of this is merely virtue signalling on our part, and huffy declarations of independence on their part, then what’s the point of this diplomatic dance..? More>>

 

New Zealand Government: Speech From The Throne

It is my privilege to exercise the prerogative of Her Majesty the Queen and open the 53rd Parliament.
In the October election, New Zealanders elected a majority Government for the first time under our Mixed Member Proportional electoral system... More>>

Grant Robertson: Government To Review Housing Settings

New Zealand’s stronger-than-expected economic performance has flowed through to housing demand, so the Government will review housing settings to improve access to the market, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “Our focus More>>

ALSO:

Law Commission: Recommends New DNA Laws For Criminal Investigations

Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission today released a report that recommends a new, comprehensive regime to control how DNA is obtained, used and retained for criminal investigations. The report has revealed significant gaps in the operation ... More>>

ALSO:


Economy: Crown Accounts Reflect Govt’s Careful Economic Management

The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance ... More>>

ALSO:

Green Party: Announce Portfolio Reshuffle With Talented And Energised Caucus Team

“The Green Party caucus offers a breadth of talent and energy to the Parliament this term. In ten MPs you have a small business owner, a human rights lawyer, an academic, a climate negotiator, a transport planner, and so much more”, Green Party ... More>>

ALSO:

APEC: New Zealand Ready To Host Virtually

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took over the leadership of APEC earlier today, when she joined leaders from the 21 APEC economies virtually for the forum’s final 2020 meeting. “We look forward to hosting a fully virtual APEC 2021 next year. While ... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels