Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Maori Party's paid parental leave bill blunder

Labour MP Sue Moroney. Photo / NZ Herald
Labour MP Sue Moroney. Photo / NZ Herald

The Maori Party will move to change its vote on Labour MPs Sue Moroney's Paid Parental Leave today after a voting blunder late last night resulted in National casting the Maori Party's three votes against it.

All three of the Maori Party's votes are critical if the bill is to pass, although Finance Minister Bill English has said he will veto it at the final reading anyway.

The Maori Party has taken responsibility for the blunder, saying it was an oversight on its part. It is understood the party mistakenly sent the proxy votes to National recording a vote against the bill rather than in favour.

It happened after the party's whip Te Ururoa Flavell was called back to his home because it was believed his daughter had gone into labour with his first grandchild.

It turned out to be a false alarm and Mr Flavell will return to Parliament today.

He will seek leave to change the vote today and is understood to have obtained permission from all parties in Parliament.

That will mean Ms Moroney's bill can proceed to its next stage.

Mr Flavell had contacted the Speaker and was given compassionate leave so his vote could still count, but there was a communication breakdown with National.

Its junior whip Tim Macindoe instead cast the Maori Party votes as opposed to the bill.

National has filibustered on the Moroney bill to ensure the debate on it was delayed until after the Budget on May 16.

National extended paid parental leave in the Budget from 13 weeks to 18 weeks, starting next year.

- NZ Herald

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