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Key hints at paid parental leave changes

Tuesday 13 May 2014 5:43 a.m.

 John Key has hinted there'll be good news in the budget for new parents.

The Prime Minister won't say whether paid parental leave is going to be extended but he's clearly signalling changes.

"We understand the benefits of extending things like paid parental leave, the question has always been how much we can afford," he told reporters.

"You'll have to wait until Thursday to find out whether we've managed to find a little extra cash in the tin."

Labour's policy is to extend paid parental leave from 14 to 26 weeks, which the Government has said would cost too much.

But it could extend it to cover more families.

"On our analysis it's only about 40 percent of people who are actually eligible for paid parental leave, so that's certainly an area the Government has looked at," he said.

"You'll have to wait until Thursday to find out whether there's any movement in that area."

Labour has promised to reduce unemployment to 4 percent by the end of its first term, and run surpluses – like the party did most years it was last in Government – but Mr Key doesn't think they can do it.

"Well that's all well and good, but how are they going to do all those things? Every policy they've got operates against those objectives," says Mr Key.

"I have an objective of being an All Black – by the way I'm not going to make it."

The Opposition also claims the Government is only posting a surplus because it isn't including the full costs of the Christchurch rebuild, which Mr Key rejects.

"That's all nonsense as well. First of all, how could they even make that claim when they haven't actually seen the numbers? But secondly, it's not true."

He says when the books are opened prior to the election, the public will see the Government's numbers are "rock solid".

"There would be no point in the Government playing games with its numbers today and then all of a sudden having that completely reversed in a couple of months' time."

NZN / 3 News

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