Labour MP Sue Moroney has been forced to concede defeat over her paid parental leave bill and instead is asking National to support a severely watered down version.

The new version gives extra leave to parents of twins or triplets, premature babies or those born with a disability.

Ms Moroney's members' bill to lift paid parental leave to 26 weeks will go before Parliament again tomorrow but the election result means she no longer has the numbers to pass it.

Instead she introducing an amendment to replace the universal extension in the bill with a much narrower provision to extend paid parental leave to 22 weeks in June for parents of babies born prematurely, with a disability or in the case of multiple births. It would lift further to 26 weeks in 2017.


Ms Moroney said she sent her proposal to the all the other parties in Parliament yesterday but was yet to hear back. Her decision to water down her original bill so significantly were forced by "political reality" - after the election National now had the numbers to vote it down.

"If the Government isn't prepared to provide universal 26 weeks paid parental leave, it should at least look at extending it to some of those in greatest need."

Ms Moroney said the idea had come from Donnelle Belanger-Taylor, the mother of twins who had made a submission to the select committee on the bill last year.

Ms Belanger-Taylor had spoken about her difficulties in returning to work when her twins were five months old. She had ended up quitting her job but believed if she had waited until they were at least eight months and sleeping better she could have better coped with returning to work.

She said the narrower provisions would cover about 2800 families a year and cost $6 million in its first year, rising to $8 million once leave extended to 26 weeks.

Ms Moroney had secured enough support to pass her bill in the last Parliamentary term - which would have forced National to use its financial veto to block it. In the new Parliament National and Act can vote to block it. National has announced it will extend paid parental leave to 16 weeks next year and then up to 18 weeks in 2016.