John Key comment’s add reasonable clarity and explanation, it’s hard to argue with what he says – compared to Bill English’s no compromise pre-empting of the parliamentary process.
Prime Minister John Key says the National Party supports extending paid parental leave…“I think everyone acknowledges mothers having more time with their infants would be an important thing to support,” Mr Key says.…but that won’t stop it using its financial veto to kill off a Labour Party bill.“We’re saying yes it’s an important issue, yes we’d love to extend it, but not until we start making money and getting back to surplus again and we’re not at that point.”
“The issue here is the government’s number one priority is to get back to surplus, and we think in the end when the Government’s balance sheet is in order, that provides greater strength for families overall.
“When that day comes, and we’re back in surplus, I think an extension of paid parental leave is something that can well and truly be on the table, but it’s not going to be on the table under our Government until we get back to surplus.”
Mr Key says when the Government has returned to budget surplus, then discussions can be held about where to spend money – although another key option is restarting Government contributions to the Superannuation Fund.
Labour wants a meeting with Acting Prime Minister Bill English after he defended the Government’s right to veto legislation that would increase paid parental leave to six months.
On TVNZ’s Q+A programme yesterday morning, he said he agreed with the idea of paid parental leave but said increasing it was simply unaffordable. “The reason for the veto is just the matter of prudent management and orderly government.”
However, there would still be a conversation about the issue and the Government welcomed that, Mr English said.
Labour leader David Shearer has seized on that and last night issued an open letter in which he invited Mr English to sit down and discuss the matter before the bill reached Parliament.
“It’s important that we move beyond partisan bickering over this important issue and seek ways to advance assistance for families in these tough economic times,” the letter said.
I don’t think we can keep increasing spending during extended tough economic times. But our politicians should be able to work together to see what can be done regarding PPL, and when we might be able to afford it.