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Govt may veto paid parental leave bill

16:30 Tue Apr 10 2012
Labour MP Sue Moroney believes she can get support from NZ First and the Maori Party to pass a bill to extend paid parental leave to six months
Labour MP Sue Moroney believes she can get support from NZ First and the Maori Party to pass a bill to extend paid parental leave to six months
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The government can use its financial veto to kill a Labour Party bill that would extend paid parental leave from 14 weeks to six months.

MP Sue Moroney, who drafted it, says she's confident it has the numbers to at least get through its first reading because it has the backing of minor parties.

But if it gets as far as its third reading, when it would become law, Finance Minister Bill English is likely to invoke the financial veto which shoots down legislation which would have "more than a minor impact" on the government's books.

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson says extending paid parental leave to six months would cost $150 million a year, and it's understood the government considers that to be more than minor.

Because it's running a deficit, the money would have to be borrowed and the government is trying to reduce debt as quickly as possible so it returns to surplus in 2014/15.

No decisions have been taken because the bill hasn't been discussed by National's caucus.

Ms Moroney has the backing of the Greens, Mana and United Future.

She's talking to the Maori Party and NZ First, and if she can get them all lined up the bill will have 61 votes - a single vote majority over National and ACT.

The financial veto can be used against a bill even if a majority of MPs want to pass it.

ACT's John Banks says $150m is unaffordable in the country's current circumstances.

"It doesn't make sense at this time to entertain it," he said.

Ms Moroney says her bill is carefully structured so paid parental leave would be extended gradually, reaching six months in 2014/15.

User comments
I know so many chicks who left high school, had no idea what to do with themselves so had kids and now receive benefits happily from the government. Not only that, most go and have a second kid, to a second father, who also doesn't hang around just so they can receive a higher benefit. When are we going to stand up and say no more stupid handouts! If the person is in dire need of a benefit then maybe they should have thought about that before having the child?!
to the 84 yr old who posted up above, wow could u realise its now 2012 not the 1800s or 1900s man get it right, it is the govts money and who cares if u work and pay tax u have to do that so shame on u , hahaha yr supporting us ppl with kids playing with our so called play toys we create, does that *** you off? well it should! paid parental leave should automatically be raised to 6months anyway why make a big deal about it? would you rather neglected babies turn into criminals because of ppls attitudes like yourself? no i dont think so you immature selfish old person . man grow the hell up.
Firstly, I don't support "father, New Zealand" comments at all. Not everyone in NZ has family (or a support network), that they can trust their child with. And PPL can be claimed by either gender of parent, not just mothers. And everyone who receives PPL, have to have worked FULL TIME, when they applied for the leave. So they're tax payers too! Get off your high horse. But I don't think the PPL should be extended either, and actually think that the whole PPL entitlement discrimates against employees that don't have children. Why does the government pay a parent to look after their child for the first 3 months of it's life? They should make PPL like KiwiSaver... an employee funded scheme. You save for parental leave, and when you have children you can take as much time off as the leave allows. If you don't have children by a certain age, then you can withdraw your money in a lumpsum.
I Agree with the man above, im no longer a single mother i now have a wonderful partner and 2 wonderful kids but with my 1st son i got way to comfy sitting at home doing nothing and reciving nearly $400 aweek for nothing. it made me not want to get a job and it made me lose confidince. 14 weeks is more then enough. if you are planning on having a child then save if you want more time off, i also agree that to many young people are having kids just to be able to get money every week. i also have a friend that has 3 kids to the same guy but yet for some reaon no one asks her y she has 3kids to him and from day 1 have been getting money. (color is also a factor with work and income, not soppy sad stories but color) and everyone knows it
"father" - yes you do have a good point, there are too many people who take advantage of the system. But this isn't about that. It is about people who are working! You make many valid points, however, times are no longer like they were 80 years ago! I would love to have the luxury of having my parents take care of my newborn, but unfortunately my mother is only 51 and has a few years to retirement. Also, I am a hard working, married tax payer. Surely if I have a child I am not ripping the system off, I am merely getting back what I have put in for the last 15 years! Also, to say that a new mother just 'sits at home and plays with their kid' is a comment that would get many women pretty aggravated.
Supporting working families to take time to bond and be involved with their child for the first few months would be a very positive step. We now know through research that this time is so critical, in terms of early brain development and neuron connections. I think 'father' above is making some valid points but is getting slightly confused with working mothers compared to those on a benefit perhaps? In an ideal world, family would be there to help raise children but the ideal is not always the practical reality. We pay the pension to our older members of society so it would be good to see support for building a strong NZ from birth as well. Any extension would be beneficial, even if six months is too expensive at this stage.
Father NZ i think your getting confused paid parental leave is only for parents who work not the dpb which is for parents that don't work. i'm currently a stay at home mother and am due back at work in November and i certainly don't sit at home "playing with my Kid" a part from shift workers i don't no many other people that start working at 4 or sometimes 5 in the morning my working day finishes if i'm lucky at 10pm. My family members actually work so how can they look after my child and why would i want them to you obviously weren't breastfed! we need to encourage more women to have children so we can afford to pay for bigotted geriatrics like you. i'm fortunate enough to have a husband that makes enough for us to live on while my off work but it would of been great to have that extra help.
Just a few actual facts to help with context. 1.NZ stopped being a welfare state has not been a welfare state since before the 'Muldoon' years. 2. NZ progressively moved to being the residual state that we are now, during the 1990 economic reforms. 3. Anyone in their 80's had parents who worked in guaranteed employment, through protected by international tarrifs, and guranteed housing-that was what a welfare state meant. 4.Please remember, traditional Asian societies are culturalist societies, meaning women, elderly and children are at the centre. I mean no disrespect, but education and reflexivity can help us find ways going forward. A government that protects families and children, protects the future of the country.
Paid parental leave means the mother will take 6 months off work to spend with her newborn, this is quite different from a mother getting pregnant whilst on the benefit at 18 this is a completely different debate. For a start the mother would have a job to start with, and her job will be left open for her to return to work.
I agree with father if you can't afford to look after your children then don't have them I was born just after the 2nd world war and there wasn't any benefit for my parents they had to raise 4 children. I think maybe we should implement a law like China 1 child per family and if you have more then you get a hefty fine and you look after them without any government help