So Bill English wants to make history and be the first to use the financial veto on a whole piece of legislation. It’s only ever been used before on amendments, usually added by oppositions to make a political point. Not on an actual fully-fledged piece of policy, that most of a sovereign parliament will back.
But it seems he’s even getting flack from those he is used to supporting him – including the Employers and Manufacturers
Family First are big supporters of traditional values, so are keen that measures that allow women to stay at home are adopted. Good to see that their general National inclination isn’t stopping them put their oar in.
And the experts agree – this would be good for families, parent-bonding, and good for children (that’s future taxpayers in your language Bill). Even the PM’s Science advisor says there’s no argument on the science. It may even save money in the long run, as better brought up kids have fewer costs down the line.
But where Bill probably most expected support from was employers. This isn’t actually an extra cost for them – it’s a government benefit – but more women will probably take longer off work as a maternity break.
Employers and Manufacturers Association employment services manager David Lowe said most people took six to 12 months off when they had a baby.
Those who did come back at 14 weeks usually did so because of financial constraints and were often “unsettled”.
A longer period of paid parental leave would be better for those parents and employers would generally not mind, he said.
In my experience an awful lot of women do go back at 14 weeks – I think “most people” taking 6-12 months off is a bit optimistic. Mums usually don’t want to go back, but financial pressures drive them back to work (with heart often not fully in the job), and their babies into (government subsidised) childcare.
If a sovereign parliament agree that this policy will bring a Brighter Future to New Zealand, with happier kids and parents, who are a lonely National Party to veto that future?