Let’s assess parenting balance, says Bennett

NZ Herald Nov 22, 2008

New Social Development Minister Paula Bennett wants a national debate over whether mothers are being pushed to go back to work too soon after having children. Ms Bennett, a solo mother herself, went back on the domestic purposes benefit (DPB) when she “fell apart” with exhaustion trying to do two jobs in about 1989 when her then 2-year-old daughter was in childcare. She told the Weekend Herald that the country had debated child abuse but needed a similar debate about getting the balance right between parenting and paid work. “I don’t think we’ve had one so much on what it means for parents to go back to work earlier and the length of time that children are spending in early childhood education and daycare,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve had the debate as a society about women having their careers and having their babies later. I don’t think we’ve had the debate about what that means.”

,…Bob McCoskrie of the Family First lobby group said Ms Bennett’s call for debate on the issue was “brilliant”. “We want tax breaks for stay-at-home parents,” he said.