Labour's paid parental leave Bill postponed

  • 27/08/2015
Sue Moroney (File)
Sue Moroney (File)

By Peter Wilson

Labour's Sue Moroney is going to have to wait a while before embarking on another mission to extend paid parental leave.

Her Bill to extend it from 16 to 26 weeks was due to have its first reading last night but long debates on law changes that allows bars to open during Rugby World Cup games didn't leave time for it.

The next opportunity for members' bills to be debated is September 16.

Meanwhile, ACT leader David Seymour says he's confident the Government will soon announce its own improvements to paid parental leave.

Mr Seymour opposes Ms Moroney's Bill but wants the Government to agree to longer leave for parents who have premature babies, multiple births or babies with special needs or disabilities.

Those changes could be included in the Employment Standards Legislation Bill, also waiting for a first reading.

Mr Seymour says he's negotiating with National to have extended leave for people in special circumstances.

"That's what the welfare state is supposed to be about - helping people who have unexpected additional needs," he told reporters.

Asked whether he thought an announcement was imminent, he said: "I would hope so, yes".

Ms Moroney is confident she has the numbers to get her Bill through its first reading, although the Government will almost certainly kill it with a financial veto later on.

It was defeated on a tied vote in May, but since then the Government has lost a seat because of Winston Peters' victory in Northland.

That gives Ms Moroney a one-vote majority this time, unless United Future leader Peter Dunne changes his mind about supporting it.

He hasn't given any indication that he will oppose the Bill, but won't confirm what he's going to do ahead of the vote.