Eight weeks’ extra paid leave would have been huge, says mother of twins.

When a post about the effort to get 26 weeks' paid parental leave popped up on Bronwyn Dutton's Facebook timeline she wanted to show support.

The next morning Mrs Dutton packed-up her twin sons Lachlan and William, 18 months, and drove an hour from Paraparaumu to get to Parliament for a supporters' meeting organised by Labour's Sue Moroney.

"It is too late for us now, but I'm happy to do what I can for others that follow behind us to be able to have that time with their children," she told the Herald.

Cute babies mingled with MPs at Parliament's Bowen House yesterday morning to mark the Paid Parent Leave Bill going before the house. It was the second bid for Ms Moroney, the bill's sponsor, to increase paid parental leave from 14 weeks to 26 weeks over the next few years.

Advertisement

The bill now looks likely to be put to a vote on September 16 after its first reading debate.

Mrs Dutton, who also has a 7-year-old with her husband, took 12 months off after having her twins. After considering what it would cost to go back to work and the commuting time, she opted to start her own business, Super Sleepers, which helps parents with methods to get their children to sleep.

"[Eight weeks' extra paid leave] would have been huge, absolutely huge. Because we have a 7-year-old as well, so for me to have left my job, just to have that extra eight weeks would have relieved a bit more pressure on the mortgage and everything."

Speaking yesterday, Ms Moroney said she was excited about what the bill had been able to achieve.

"Because this is not for me and my generation, it's for the generation coming forward."

The member's bill has the support of the Maori Party, New Zealand First and the Greens, and United Future's Peter Dunne looked set to confirm his support last night to send it to select committee.

Ms Moroney said the Government was reportedly preparing to bring in an amendment to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks for parents of children born with disabilities, babies born prematurely and families where there were multiple births - like twins or triplets.

This was from the amended bill she put to Parliament in February, she said. "The Government voted it down and it was lost by the narrowest margin you could ever get.

"The fact that my bill has been drawn out of the ballot again seems to have forced them into a position of agreeing to my proposal from February. So the bill already appears to be making a big difference and it hasn't had its first reading yet."

NZEI national president Louise Green said extending paid parental leave would give more children a better start in life.