A Labour government would extend paid parental leave from
14 weeks to a minimum of 26, David Cunliffe told trade
unionists yesterday in his first big speech since gaining the
leadership a month ago.
The adoption of extended paid parental leave as policy was
among employment law changes Labour would embark on soon
after becoming the government, Mr Cunliffe told the Council
of Trade Unions conference in Wellington.
Pledging to "scrap National's unfair labour law changes in
the first 100 days" of office, he took aim at National's
"fire at will" 90-day trial period for workers, youth rates,
its "attacks on collective bargaining" and legislation
"taking away smoko and lunch breaks".
"The Labour Government I lead will turn back the tide of
anti-worker legislation that has been flowing like a river
from the Key Government for the last five years. We will be a
true red Labour party, not a pale blue one."
He said Labour would also extend paid parental leave from 14
weeks to a minimum of 26 weeks as set out in social
development spokeswoman Sue Moroney's member's bill.
Mr Cunliffe said extension of paid parental leave was
earmarked for the first term of a Labour government, "but we
don't know exactly what the state of the books is going to be
yet and we're having to balance that with the need to be
fiscally responsible, which we will be".
Mr Cunliffe, who received strong support from unions during
the leadership contest, underlined the commitments he made
while campaigning for the job.
That included raising the minimum wage immediately to $15 an
hour and supporting the "living wage" campaign, leading by
example to put in place for all core state sector employees.
"Based on the preliminary costings we've done we think that's
Meanwhile, he denied a report that a Labour MP had not
pledged loyalty to him, saying he hadn't sought such pledges.
"We've had a general discussion about the need to work
together as a team and I'm absolutely delighted that our
entire caucus goal is locked in behind our common goal of
winning the 2014 election."
- Adam Bennett of the NZ Herald