Prime Minister John Key has launched a scathing attack on
Labour leader David Cunliffe's credibility, calling him
"tricky" and questioning whether he's been telling the public
Speaking on TV3's Firstline this morning about Labour's
$60-a-week child payment scheme, Mr Key accepted that some
elements of the new policy have "merit".
But he went on to say it was unfunded and not well targeted,
before accusing Mr Cunliffe of "misleading New Zealanders"
over the scheme.
He said Mr Cunliffe claimed the benefit would be paid out for
the first year of the baby's life, as long as you earn under
But the money starts being paid only once paid parental leave
"David Cunliffe's developing a reputation around Parliament
for being very tricky," Mr Key said.
"He [Cunliffe] just needs to learn to be up front with the
public so they can actually trust his word.
"I read his speeches and now after a number of examples of
this, I really question whether the guy is telling me the
Yesterday (Tue), Mr Key said the Government will "have a
look" at extending paid parental leave to beyond 14 weeks as
early as the middle of this year.
On Firstline this morning Mr Key denied imitating Labour's
"Paid parental leave is one of those things where we've
always said, under the right conditions, when we can afford
it, of course there's a case to extend that a bit. At the
moment we pay 14 weeks; could that go out a bit more? My view
is probably yes."
Given the cost of the Christchurch earthquakes, coupled with
the global financial crisis, and "racking up massive debts"
to pay for existing programmes, Mr Key said there was no
credible argument to increase paid parental leave before now.
He said it came down to a matter of priorities.
"You can go to 26 weeks of paid parental leave, but are you
going to have as much money to spend on new cancer drugs that
come? Or maybe more police officers, or maybe other support
for other people?
"I think you've got to get your balance right, and in my view
we will get that balance right, and the Labour Party is not."