Parental leave price tag splits public

NZ Herald 2 May 2012
Nearly half of voters agree with the Government’s decision to veto a Labour MP’s bill to increase paid parental leave because of the price tag, according to the latest Herald DigiPoll survey. Views on whether Labour MP Sue Moroney’s members’ bill to increase paid parental leave from 14 to 26 weeks should go ahead were almost evenly split in the poll – 48.4 per cent of respondents said it should be ditched while 48.6 per cent said it should be allowed to pass if it had the numbers in Parliament. A further 3 per cent did not know or chose neither option. Ms Moroney’s bill is due to have its first reading in Parliament within two months and has support to pass through its first reading. Respondents were told the Government planned to ditch the bill on the grounds it would have to borrow $150 million a year. The poll of 750 people was taken from April 19-29, about a week after Finance Minister Bill English said the Government would exercise its veto over the bill even if it got the necessary support to pass. NZ First and the Maori Party joined United Future and the Greens in confirming their support yesterday, although NZ First’s support is restricted to the first reading to allow public feedback at select committee.