A Parliamentary committee is divided on whether paid parental
leave should be extended by 12 weeks, despite official advice
which showed it could cost less than the Government
The Government Administration select committee released its
report on Labour MP Sue Moroney's bill this morning, saying
it was unable to agree on whether the bill should be passed.
The private member's bill 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 unaffordable.
Ms Moroney accused National of using delaying tactics. She
accepted National's request late last year to give the
committee more time so the party could reconsider its
"I agreed to that extension in good faith, but National
members introduced no amendments and then voted down the work
the select committee had done," she said.
The committee's report showed that of 3809 submissions on
extending paid parental leave from 14 to 26 weeks, 99.6 per
cent were in favour.
The report also gave detailed costings for extending paid
Treasury estimated the additional cost would be $276 million
over three years, with savings of at least $28.4 million once
the scheme was fully implemented.
The bill proposed a staged increase, adding four weeks of
leave each year over three years.
Ms Moroney said: "The report ... shows Bill English's
assertion that the bill would cost $500m in three years was
over-egged with official advice to the committee costing the
net amount at $220m over the next three years."
Prime Minister John Key said yesterday that the Government
was yet to decide on its final position on paid parental
He indicated there would be an increase in the May Budget,
but it would not go as far as the 26 weeks proposed by Ms
"We are working our way through it, in terms of Budget bids.
Twenty-six weeks is not affordable, but we do think some
extension might be."
- By Isaac Davison of the New Zealand Herald