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Govt still plans to block parental leave bill

Wednesday 25 Jul 2012 5:26a.m.

Govt still plans to block parental leave bill

A Labour-backed bill to extend paid parental leave from 14 weeks to six months looks set to pass its first reading on Wednesday, but the Government is sticking to a pledge to kill it with its financial veto.

Labour's Sue Moroney needs 61 votes to get her bill through - and with the support of all opposition parties, along with United Future and the Maori Party, she'll have exactly enough.

National and ACT are both opposing the bill, and the Government will use its veto at the bill's third reading because of the estimated extra cost of $150 million a year, which ministers say would have to be borrowed.

Labour leader David Shearer says despite its inevitable death, the bill should be discussed by a select committee.

"I think New Zealanders are supportive of it. Obviously we have to be financially responsive to the situation right now, but we still believe that this is something New Zealanders would like to see," he said.

"We think that Treasury and IRD, if they could put up the figures of how we could look at this bill, where we think it could go, how it could be phased in over time possibly, if there's economic issues around it."

Finance Minister Bill English is standing firm on the Government's decision to veto.

"The Government's made its intentions clear. We want to maintain the current scheme - about $150m a year - because it's important to the families, we just don't have the [money] that this bill would cost to put on top of the additional scheme."

NZN

 
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