Govt ‘undervaluing’ mothers on paid parental leave – Family First

TVNZ 12 April 2012
Family first is slamming the Government’s plan to use a rare veto tool to quash a bill extending paid parental leave, saying it is “undervaluing mothers”. The private bill from Labour’s early childhood spokesperson Sue Moroney aims to extend paid parental leave in New Zealand from 14 to 26 weeks. National director of Family First Bob McCoskrie said the bill should at least be given the respect of debate, and the families are being penalised for having children. “Successive Governments have undervalued mothers – and it continues with this decision. “In reality, this policy would represent about 0.2% of the total Government spending, yet research shows that the role of mothers and the early bonding between mums and babies is vital for healthy child development.”

Paid parental leave veto disappoints
Dominion Post 12 April 2012
The Government’s support partner United Future says moves to “kill off” plans to extend paid parental leave are disappointing but will not stop debate on the issue….. Family First spokesman Bob McCoskrie said the Government’s focus was on the needs of the economy, rather than the welfare of children. “In reality, this policy would represent about 0.2 per cent of the total government spending, yet research shows that the role of mothers and the early bonding between mums and babies is vital for healthy child development.”

Government criticised over paid parental leave veto
National Radio 12 April 2012
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says it is astonishing the Government has chosen to veto paid parental leave legislation before political parties have had a chance to consider it…. The Family First lobby group says the Government is running scared of robust debate on the issue of paid parental leave.

LISTEN Radio NZ Morning Report (with comments from Family First)

Nats under pressure over parental leave
Dominion Post 13 April 2012
The Government is coming under increasing fire over its decision to torpedo Labour’s paid parental leave extension, as research indicates it is the first time the financial veto has been used to block an entire piece of legislation…. His decision to kibosh the bill so early has been slammed, with NZ First leader Winston Peters saying politicians should stop trying to score points and be given time to discuss the issues. “We suggest the hysteria ends and we discuss this issue calmly as adults and see what we can work out.” Family First director Bob McCoskrie said the Government was scared of robust debate and families were being penalised as a result. The bill should at least be given the “respect of debate”.

Families advocate: leave plan too dear
NZ Herald 14 April 2012
The Families Commission has reversed its support for a full year of paid parental leave, saying the country can probably no longer afford it. The move has dismayed social campaigner and Mana candidate Sue Bradford, who accused Families Commissioner Carl Davidson of betraying the ideals of his office and called on him to resign. Mr Davidson made his comments this week as Finance Minister Bill English announced that the Government would veto a $150 million-a-year Labour proposal for six months’ paid parental leave, which appeared to have majority support in Parliament. Until recently the Families Commission has helped lead the campaign for increased paid parental leave. It argued strongly under its former boss Rajen Prasad – now a Labour MP – for a full year’s paid parental leave and reaffirmed its position in 2010. But Mr Davidson, appointed that year by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett, told the Weekend Herald that the commission’s 2007 proposal should now be seen as “the gold standard”, which had to change because of the worldwide economic recession.

Call to raid fund for new-borns
Bay of Plenty Times 15 April 2012
A Tauranga child psychotherapist is calling on the Government to divert money from the 20 Hours Free subsidy scheme to longer paid parental leave. Augustina Driessen said if money was short, it would be better off going to new parents, whose children needed it most…. Family First NZ has slammed the Government as “undervaluing mothers”. A 2008 report by UNICEF rated New Zealand 23rd out of 25 countries for effective paid parental leave.

The cost of parenthood
NZ Herald 14 April 2012
The Government says we can’t afford to introduce six months’ paid parental leave. Child advocates and some parents claim we can’t afford not to.