The Alliance Party has come out in support of Labour’s attempts to increase the level of Paid Parental Leave to 26 weeks but believes the National Government just doesn’t want to. The Alliance introduced this policy and successfully pushed for it when in coalition with Labour during the 1999-2002 period.
“Twenty six weeks paid parental leave would get families off to a flying start by relieving the stress of money worries and childcare arrangements and allowing parents to spend quality time with their young children. The Alliance is delighted that Labour MP Sue Moroney has introduced her bill to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks,” said Alliance co leader Kay Murray.
“It is a great shame that the government has decided it would rather spend the $150 million a year, it is estimated it would take to fund 26 weeks paid parental leave, on other things, such as sporting events and failed finance companies. This is particularly galling when government ministers have stressed the importance of families on a regular basis.”
The Alliance believes that $150 million per year is not a huge sum of money and there are considerable economic benefits for the country. Paid parental leave will create additional jobs as each worker who takes six months leave will need to be replaced. For this reason, more people will be able to get a foothold in the job market. Most of the $150 million paid out each year will be paid back into the local economy because families will spend it on basic living costs. And the government will get to pocket the GST.
“For all these reasons, the Alliance believes that the government should withdraw its veto of the bill and at least let the people of New Zealand have a say on whether or not 26 weeks paid parental leave is something they would like their taxes to be spent on. On balance, we believe that the majority of Kiwis would say yes to this move.”