Today, we’re celebrating mothers, grandmothers and all the mother figures in our lives – and wishing them a wonderful day with whānau and friends – and, ideally, not so many obligations.
This week, in the lead up to Mothers’ Day, our team shared the best advice their mothers have given them. You can check out those pearls of wisdom here:
Mother’s Day is an annual reminder to appreciate the mother figures in our lives. We might not say it enough, but we recognise the mahi that mothers do day in and day out – mahi that often goes overlooked or undervalued – and our Government is working to support them and their whānau.
For example, our Best Start payment is making life easier for parents of young tamariki, providing an extra $60 per week to help out with the costs of a newborn. Best Start was a key part of our Families Package, which has lifted the incomes of around 385,000 families by an average of $75 a week.
We’ve extended paid parental leave to 26 weeks, and we’ve introduced a bill to end the subsequent child policy – making sure parents aren’t punished for having more than one child while receiving a benefit. We also got rid of the discriminatory sanction that cut benefits to mothers who didn’t declare the name of their child’s father.
We’re making it cheaper to send the kids to school. We increased school funding so parents don’t have to pay school donations or NCEA fees, and we’re expanding free lunches in schools, to provide kai for over 215,000 young people by the end of the year. This initiative is already well on its way to creating around 2,000 jobs – many of which are being taken up by mothers returning to the workforce.
From June, all students at schools and kura across the country will also have access to free period products – removing another barrier to learning for young people, and easing the pressure on families.
Last year we delivered the biggest ever funding boost for primary maternity services, to better support community midwives, women, and babies. This was in addition to the one-off lump sum of $2,500 each that community midwives received in recognition of their essential work during lockdown. Plus our new Best Start Kōwae suite of pregnancy assessment tools focusses on equitable access to healthcare for māma and pēpi Māori, supporting the wellbeing of all expectant mothers to improve health outcomes for babies.
We’re also tackling under-representation within our midwifery workforce, through hardship funding and student support that will retain and attract more Māori and Pāsifika midwives.
We’ve strengthened equal pay legislation and delivered record pay settlements to make sure employees in female-dominated workforces are paid fairly. And under this Government we’ve seen the biggest drop in the public service gender pay gap in 17 years.
Women make up more than half of minimum wage earners – and since taking office we’ve steadily lifted that wage by $4.25 per hour. We’ve also protected bereavement leave for women who experience a miscarriage or still-birth, making sure they have time to grieve with whānau.
Those are just some of the ways we’re supporting mums. But, on this Mother’s Day, we’re also aware that there’s plenty more to do. We’ll keep working to improve the wellbeing of mothers and whānau as we push forward on our economic recovery.
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