Hard hearted Bill vetos parental leave bill vetoed

Bill English has followed through with threats to veto the Paid Parental Leave Bill that would have increased paid parental leave from the current 18 weeks to 26 weeks.

The bill was supported by a majority in Parliament, the Bill was not.

I’m disappointed by this. The Paid Parental Leave Bill was introduced to Parliament via the Members’ ballot and passed through all it’s stages under our democratic process, but was discarded by English under his power of ‘certificate of financial veto’.

There would have been a cost with a fiscal impact but not a significant one in the whole scheme of things.

There is overwhelming evidence that the first months and years of a child’s life are of fundamental importance to their well being, so if any stage of their lives deserves Government support it is the first six months.

It is also important that mothers in particular (and fathers as well) are supported during the most difficult, the most time consuming and the most important stage of parenthood.

Yes there would have been an added cost but the benefits are likely to have paid this back.

This makes English look petty, penny pinching and mean. Ditto the National Party.

Labour, the Greens, the Maori Party, NZ First and UnitedFuture all supported the bill.

Labour MP Sue Moroney introduced and strongly promoted the bill:

…said she was “frustrated and disappointed” by the veto.

“It’s a difficult thing to command parliamentary majority from opposition…and it’s the right thing to do.

Peter Dunne…

… said the veto was “unfortunate”, given the Government’s previous claims about its focus on children.

“I think it’s a delicious irony in that yesterday [the] Government was saying that putting children at the centre of policy was a priority – today they ban a bill on paid parental leave.”

Labour leader Andrew Little…

…said it was “deeply disappointing”.

Parliament clearly supports it … the Government does have the right of veto and in the end they’ll be accountable to New Zealander’s for that”.

Spokeswoman for the coalition 26 for Babies…

…said the “unaffordability” argument didn’t stack up.

“This decision is about this Governments priorities,” Rebecca Matthews-Heron said.

It is hard work to get a sensible Opposition bill with majority support for it. It is hard work being a parent, particularly in the first 6 months of a child’s life.

It was easy for English to veto this bill, but it was hard nosed, hard hearted and contrary to Government claims about putting a priority on early childhood.