New Zealand Labour Party

Final push for 26 weeks paid parental leave

Labour MP Sue Moroney’s Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks will have its last debate in Parliament this afternoon.

“From the outset I have said this Bill would prove which political parties truly did prioritise the needs of children and their families,” Sue Moroney says.

“Sadly, with National and Act voting it down today, the Government has failed that test.

“The good news is that parties led by Labour have joined with community organisations to win a small victory for families along the way – forcing the Government to extend paid parental leave to 18 weeks in two years’ time.

“National has failed to understand the value in supporting bonding and attachment between parent and baby in those crucial early months and it has ignored the proven health benefits of supporting breastfeeding to six months.

“The Government has played every political trick in the book to stop this Bill from passing, despite it having majority support in the 50th Parliament.

“It grossly exaggerated the cost of the Bill, used delaying tactics, pretended to give it support it and threatened a financial veto against it, even though 99.6 per cent of the 3800 submissions were in favour of a 26 week period.

“National wouldn’t even consider extending leave to families with twins or triplets; premature babies or babies born with a disability.

“That exposes a hard-hearted Government that is out of touch with the pressure these families are under.

“Clearly, only a Labour-led Government will address the pressures faced by families with new-born babies and ensure that children get the best start in life,” Sue Moroney says.