Paid Parental Leave

In 2012, the government voted to pay for a parent – mother or father – to take 14 weeks off work to look after the baby, and be paid by the taxpayer. This was extended to 18 weeks but Labour MP Sue Moroney thinks this is not long enough.

Her Paid Parental Leave bill was passed this week by 1 vote, 61 votes to 60. Her bill was to extend the time off work (leave from work) from 18 weeks to 26 weeks. Leave would increase to 22 weeks next year and 26 weeks in 2018. This would cost $278m over 4 years. However, Bill English, the Minister of Finance, vetoed the bill. He said there was not enough money for this. This is the first time a Finance Minister has vetoed an entire bill.

Perhaps the government will decide there is enough money for this next year. Next year is election year. This would be a very popular decision and could win votes for the government.

Although it is called ‘parental leave’, it is usually the mother who stays at home to breast feed the baby. Women are encouraged to breast feed their babies for at least 6 months. As many pregnant women take time off before their baby is born, even 26 weeks is not a very long time before the mother has to go back to work.


• parental – adjective from the noun ‘parent’
• bill (n) – when a bill passes, it usually becomes the law
• leave (n) – agreement to have time off work
• extend (v) – increase in length of time (or distance)
• veto (v and n) – a powerful person says ‘No’. This stops an action.
• entire (adj) – a whole bill, all of it

One Comments

  1. Myrina Amoussouga

    I think that the parental leave extension is a good investment for New Zealanders’ future. The power of veto in democratic government about this bill is abused even the government according to the Constitution is responsible of public financing and regulation. The protection of new born is very important for their welfare and psychology and can reduce in the future, the cost of public’s health.

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