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Teddy Bears Picnic won’t bear paid parental leave veto

August 19, 2013

Teddy Bears Picnic won’t bear paid parental leave veto

A Teddy Bears Picnic will be held on Friday August 23 to tell the Government not to use its power of financial veto on Sue Moroney’s Bill to extend paid parental leave.

Picnicking parents will be signing postcards to Prime Minister John Key asking him not to veto extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks.

“The only argument that has been advanced against this Bill is cost, just as it was when Paid Parental Leave was first introduced,” says Leonie Morris, Coordinator for Auckland 26 for Babies. “But the extension will cost the same as the margin of error in government budget forecasting.”

“This Government is willing to spend $36 million on the America’s Cup and $220 million on the Rugby World Cup, but not $166 million (over 3 years) to provide a sound start for most of the country’s babies,” she says.

A majority of MPs support the extension, and submissions on the bill showed that extending paid parental leave is in the best interest of babies, parents and the workforce.

“Vetoing the Bill for financial reasons would be anti-democratic and short-sighted. It would demonstrate that to this Government, caring for babies just doesn’t matter. The Government has more money than it forecast – we can do this.”

We call on Mr Key to seriously consider the select committee reports to take up Labour's offer to discuss what is achievable for families.

The picnic will be held around Albert Park Rotunda in the central city, from 12 noon to 1pm, rain or shine.

Background
The bill, Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months' Paid Leave) Amendment Bill, passed its first reading in Parliament in July last year, with the support of the Labour, Green, NZ First, Maori, Mana and United Future parties.

26 for Babies
A coalition of child and parent advocates, breastfeeding organisations, health bodies, and representatives of women and working women supporting an extension to paid parental leave. www.26forbabies.org | @26forbabies

ENDS

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