How is the Government helping to support young New Zealand families through paid parental leave?
STUART SMITH to the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety: How is the Government helping to support young New Zealand families through paid parental leave?
Hon MICHAEL WOODHOUSE (Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety): Good news. Tomorrow paid parental leave payments will increase across the board, with the maximum weekly rate for employees and self-employed—[Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order!
Hon MICHAEL WOODHOUSE: They do not like good news, do they? The maximum weekly rate for employees and self-employed parents is going from $504.10 to $516.85. This increase comes on top of changes that came in on 1 April this year that extended the provision of paid parental leave from 14 weeks to 16 weeks and increased the parental tax credit.
Stuart Smith: What further changes can New Zealand families expect around paid parental leave?
Hon MICHAEL WOODHOUSE: Last year the Government announced a $172 million—
Hon Annette King: It’s a Labour Party policy.
Hon MICHAEL WOODHOUSE: Shh!
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The level of interjection from one particular member is now unacceptable.
Hon MICHAEL WOODHOUSE:—a $172 million package over 4 years to boost paid parental leave. Another extension that will take place from 1 April next year will see a further increase to paid parental leave to 18 weeks. In addition, I will soon be introducing legislation to the House that will extend eligibility to include, other than biological or formal adoptive parents, a wider range of non-standard workers and primary carers such as permanent guardians, Home for Life carers, whāngai parents, and grandparents.
More than 26,000 New Zealanders take paid parental leave. Tomorrow’s increase and the further extensions that this Government has committed to will further help families and carers to give our youngest New Zealanders the best possible start in life.
Sue Moroney: Will he honour his commitment to ACT leader David Seymour to introduce 26 weeks’ paid parental leave for babies born with disabilities, for those born prematurely, and for multiple births, in exchange for David Seymour withdrawing support for my bill delivering those outcomes?
Hon MICHAEL WOODHOUSE: I will certainly honour all commitments that I have made to our confidence and supply partner. That was not it. I am corresponding with Mr Seymour about what is already in place and about the supports that are being provided by this Government to multiple birth parents and parents of prematurely born babies, and that is what we will do.