Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Six months paid parental leave under Labour

Labour Leader Phil Goff on a meet and greet at the Wesley Market in September. Under the party's child policy paid parental leave would be extended to 6 months. Photo / Getty images
Labour Leader Phil Goff on a meet and greet at the Wesley Market in September. Under the party's child policy paid parental leave would be extended to 6 months. Photo / Getty images

Paid parental leave would be extended from 14 weeks to six months under Labour's child policy announced this afternoon but it would take two terms to be implemented.

It says it would also explore implementing a year's paid parental leave.

It would restore funding to achieve the target of 100 per cent of staff in early childhood centres fully qualified - but again over two terms.

Labour would also extend the In-Work Tax Credit to families dependent on social welfare benefits but that would not be fully implemented until 2018 in three stages.

It would give about 150,000 families with young children $70 to $80 a week more.

The exclusion of beneficiaries from the In-Work tax credit has been deemed discriminatory by the Child Poverty Action Coalition but ruled lawful by the High Court in October.

Labour says that the party's future wage policies such as the $5000 tax-free zone, and minimum wage would mean families in wages were better off and incentives to work stronger.

"It is essentially a moral and ethical issue," said Deputy leader Annette King.

"It's unfinished business for a Labour Party."

"We consider that the ways the In Work Tax Credit stigmatises beneficiary families, undervalues care, and keeps poor families income unnecessarily low outweigh any remaining issues about work incentives," the policy says.

Labour would also extend access to 24-hour free health care for children aged under six to after-hours medical services - something National announced last week it would also do.

Labour abolish the Families Commission and set up a Ministry of Children under a Minister for Children.

- NZ Herald

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