Labour MP Sue Moroney. Photo / APN
An extra 12 weeks of paid parental leave could be back on
the cards after the Government appeared to reconsider its
position, though a new scheme could have a later start date to
make it more affordable.
Shadow Social Development Minister Sue Moroney said the
"weight of public opinion" had convinced the Government to
reconsider its threat to scupper her bill to extend parental
leave from 14 weeks to a maximum of 26 weeks.
It is believed to have the numbers to pass into law, but
Finance Minister Bill English has previously said the
Government would use its powers to veto it because it was
Mr English said yesterday he had not changed his position on
the bill but he understood amendments were being considered
to make it more palatable to the National-led Government.
He said he had been surprised by the extent to which the MPs
in the committee had worked on changing the legislation.
"What I'm advised is that the bill will now look
substantially different and may be worth looking at."
At National's request, the select committee considering the
bill has been given a later deadline to report back to MPs,
meaning the debate could come in the lead-up to the 2014
Mr English said: "The select committee has done quite a lot
of work to come up with a bill that wouldn't be vetoed, and
we just haven't had the opportunity to look at the detail of
where they've got to."
Asked whether a later start date could be considered, he
said: "Those are all possibilities. The original bill just
cost too much too soon to be acceptable or to be workable."
The number of extra weeks of payments could also be reduced.
Ms Moroney said the "signals were very good". "I hope they're
going to change their mind because putting a financial veto
against hard-working families was never going to be a good
look for the Government."
Paid parental leave
Maximum now - 14 weeks.
Proposed maximum - 26 weeks.
Payments of up to $475 a week would be phased in by four
weeks a year over three years.
The Government said it would cost $450 million over the first
four years but now says that costing has changed
- Isaac Davison of the New Zealand Herald