Parental leave co­op­er­a­tion in­di­cated

Otago Daily Times - - INSIDE ONE - DEREK CHENG

WELLINGTON: Work­place Re­la­tions Min­is­ter Iain­Lees Gal­loway says he is will­ing to work with the Na­tional Party to ad­vance paid parental leave for part­ners — but not at the mo­ment.

A lunch was held in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day to cel­e­brate the Gov­ern­ment’s first Bill, cur­rently pass­ing through Par­lia­ment, which will ex­tend paid parental leave to 22 weeks next year, and to 26 weeks from July 2020.

Na­tional jus­tice spokes­woman Amy Adams is try­ing to amend the Paid Parental Leave Bill so that both par­ents can take some of the leave en­ti­tle­ment at the same time.

For­mer Labour MP Sue Moroney, who cham­pi­oned paid parental leave as an MP, said the next step was ‘‘get­ting some ex­clu­sive part­ner leave’’ in place, to get ‘‘ev­ery­one in the fam­ily that at­tach­ment and bond­ing op­por­tu­nity’’.

Mr Gal­loway has re­sisted Na­tional’s amend­ment, say­ing that the cur­rent Bill is about the bond­ing be­tween ba­bies and their pri­mary care­giver.

But he told the crowd at lunch that he sup­ported Ms Moroney’s pro­posal.

‘‘I ab­so­lutely want to pick up the ba­ton ex­actly as you de­scribe, Sue . . . I have al­ready ex­tended the in­vi­ta­tion to the Na­tional Party for us all to work to­gether on what the next steps are for paid parental leave.

‘‘But to­day this is about com­plet­ing this phase of the jour­ney.’’

Ms Moroney told me­dia she sup­ported Na­tional’s amend­ment, and ideally wanted the Gov­ern­ment to leg­is­late for two weeks’ paid leave for part­ners. But she un­der­stood Mr Gal­loway’s re­luc­tance to adopt Na­tional’s amend­ment.

‘‘[The cur­rent Bill] has been through se­lect com­mit­tee twice. That par­tic­u­lar pro­vi­sion hasn’t been through a se­lect com­mit­tee and I un­der­stand their rea­son­ing of want­ing to get some more ad­vice on that.’’ — NZME

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