If the Government isn’t prepared to provide universal 26 weeks paid parental leave, it should at least look to extending it to some of those in greatest need - parents of new-born twins or triplets, or parents whose baby is born with a disability or born prematurely, says Labour MP Sue Moroney.
"Labour wants to see 26 weeks paid parental leave extended to all eligible families. However, if National isn’t prepared to do that the least it can do is extend support to the estimated 2800 Kiwi families who face additional pressure with their new-born babies each year.
“At $6 million in the next financial year, it is a fraction of the cost of John Key’s flag referendums.”
Ms Moroney is calling on the Government to support an amendment to her paid parental leave bill which will be debated again in Parliament tomorrow.
“The amendment extends paid parental leave to 22 weeks in July for parents of babies born prematurely or with a disability, and families who have a multiple birth.
“It would rise to 26 weeks in 2017 at an annual cost of $8 million.
"Both the social and economic arguments for 26 weeks paid parental leave across the board remain valid, but the political reality is that the National Government opposes that initiative and now has the numbers in Parliament to vote it down.
"Therefore Labour is working to get agreement to help out families in the greatest need, allowing them to have the financial support to spend more time at home with their new-born babies."