Finance Minister Bill English says there is room for discussion on the issue of extending paid parental leave if the government's finances return to surplus sooner.
Mr English has been defending a plan to use the government's financial veto to stop a Labour Party bill on paid parental leave at its third reading - even if a majority of MPs support it in parliament.
Labour's bill, chosen by ballot, extends paid parental leave from 14 weeks to six months.
Mr English told TVNZ's Q+A programme on Sunday that the government had the balance right by maintaining existing parental leave, increasing Working for Families payments and increasing spending on early childhood eduction.
Asked if there was room for compromise he said: "If the economy picks up and we get back to surplus sooner, then of course there is room for discussion about all those things that people want us to have more of".
"The government finances would get in a mess if we allow parliament to go round spending up large with no responsibility for how to manage where the money comes from," he said.
The government presents its 2012 budget on May 24. It is currently trying to return to the government budget to surplus by 2014/15.
The use of the financial veto has been called an arrogant dismissal of parliamentary democracy.
Mr English said there would be a conversation about extending paid parental leave and the use of the veto was not rare.
"When we get to surplus, the Labour Party and ourselves are both committed to put the first couple of billion into the Superfund so we can finance long-term retirement for all New Zealanders," Mr English said.