July 1 changes: Paid parental leave extension, higher petrol prices, free apprenticeships

An array of Government initiatives come into effect on Wednesday, providing savings to Kiwis in some areas but increasing costs in others.

Here are a selection of the changes affecting New Zealanders:

Paid parental leave extension

It's been extended from 22 weeks to 26 weeks, with the maximum weekly payment also increasing by $20 per week. This will be available to parents with children due on or after July 1. 

Legislating incremental extensions was one of the Jacinda Ardern's Government's first moves when it came to power in 2017.

Petrol price hike and road user charges

Kiwis will be paying more at the petrol pump. The Government's petrol excise duty increase will see motorists pay an additional 3.5 cents per litre, taking excise tax to 70 cents. 

Road user charges are also set to increase by about 5 percent. The cost of a road user charges distance licence for a light vehicle, including a car, van or ute, will be $76 up from $72, per 1000 km including GST. 

These increases are in line with those in 2018 and 2019, with all tax going to the National Land Transport Fund. 


To support industries key to New Zealand's COVID-19 recovery, apprentices in any industry or people wanting to train in targeted areas will have between $2500 and $6500 in costs per year paid for them. At Budget 2020, the Government set aside $1.6 billion for a trades and apprenticeship programme, which included $320 million for free trades training in critical industries.

Early childhood teacher pay boost

Also in May's Budget, the Government announced a $151.1 million funding boost over four years to improve pay for early childhood teachers. The minimum salary is set to increase from about $45,491 or $46,832 (depending on qualifications) to $49,862. 

That brings their pay in line with that of kindergarten teachers. 

Farm debt mediation

The Farm Debt Mediation Act, which became law in December 2019, now requires creditors to offer mediation to farmers who default on payments before they take enforcement action. Total farm debt in New Zealand sits at $62.8 billion, which is up 270 percent on 20 years ago.

Building Levy

Kiwis undertaking consented building work will be better off, with the Building Levy being reduced from $2.01 to $1.75 per $1000 of the total build cost if the consented work is over the $20,444 threshold. That's a saving of about $80 based on the average residential new build in Auckland or $5200 for a $20 million commercial project.

In a statement on Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Ardern said the Government is "making progress on both the long-term challenges we were tackling before COVID-19 hit and our economic response to the global pandemic".

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