John Key. Photo Getty
Prime Minister John Key this morning hinted that National
is working on its own legislation to extend paid parental leave
but for a shorter period than the 26 weeks Labour is pushing
Late last year Finance Minister Bill English indicated
National was reconsidering its position on Labour MP Sue
Moroney's members bill to extend paid parental leave to 26
weeks. Previously he had said the Government would use its
financial veto to stymie the bill which looked like it had
the numbers to pass.
This morning however, Mr Key said an extension to 26 weeks
was more than National was willing to support, but he said
his party may extend beyond the current 14 weeks.
"We're working on our own policies... but not to the level of
largesse we saw announced yesterday by Labour. That is half a
billion dollars to try and get people to vote Labour using
taxpayers' own money."
Mr English said National had always said it was interested in
extending paid parental leave when there was room to do so,
but it would balance that up with other "quite urgent needs
for the most vulnerable children" such as lifting
immunisation rates, lifting educational achievement and
protecting the most vulnerable children from violence.
He said National expected to continue discussions with Labour
over Ms Moroney's bill when it was reported back from the
select committee next month.
The bill was held back by the select committee after National
asked them to consider it further.
Mr English said National asked the committee to do that,
because it was "interested in finding some path forward that
may be agreeable".
"Now that doesn't mean we're committed to getting agreement,
it just means we'll look at the issues."
- Adam Bennett of the NZ Herald