Media Release 29 June 2016
Family First NZ says that the government in exercising its veto against paid parental leave is prioritising funding for the childcare industry over democracy and giving parents real choice and support.
“The Government has just announced extra spending of $100m per year on childcare in the Budget. This means that the early childhood education sector will receive $1.7b taxpayer funding every year with no suggestion of a government veto. At the same time, the government tries to argue that it can’t afford a $100m investment in hands-on parenting in the early crucial formative years,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“If the government is spending money on caring for children, the payments or tax credits should be made directly to parents so that parents can make the choices that fit their family the best.”
“Parents and families are being financially penalised for choosing to stay home and parent full-time in the crucial early years.”
‘The financial veto is disrespectful to parents and the young families, and is also flawed because it fails to recognise the benefit of investing in hands-on parenting especially for middle- and low-income families. The political and policy focus has been on the needs of the economy, yet research shows that the role of mothers and the early bonding between mums and babies is vital for healthy child development,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Research is also showing us that it is important that fathers be actively involved with their children and are not an optional extra. Fathers are fundamental to children’s healthy development as their involvement can improve the health, emotional well-being and educational achievement of their children. That’s why we made the call for a small amount of paid father leave also.”
According to OECD Statistics compiled by Parliamentary Library, the current paid parental leave of 18 weeks puts New Zealand in 26th equal place out of the world’s 34 developed countries in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) rankings.