Garner gives Labour a serve over paid parental leave

Duncan Garner has given Labour a good kicking for their grandstanding over paid parental leave:

I’m in that really unlucky cohort that paid for everything and got almost no handouts.

No paid parental leave, no 20 hours’ free childcare and no free university.

But there was Alliance MP Laila Harre in 1999. She kicked all this baby leave off. Labour came slowly to the party and National, in office, was a most reluctant participant.

Anyway, that was then and this leave is now the norm, 22 weeks for mums next year at just over $500 a week.

By 2020, it’ll be 26 weeks. It’s more than helpful. It’s the difference between struggle and comfort, petrol and nappies are affordable, the groceries are covered and some rent.

Dozens of countries offer paid parental leave. It’s a no-brainer. We pay every pensioner a guaranteed state income, it’s good for their health, yet it’s the early years where the differences are made. Supporting families should be the norm, not a luxury item.

So why is it just for mums? Why can’t families split the 26 weeks so mum and dad can share it, spend time together, bond with baby? Because Labour says it’s best for mum to have 26 weeks with baby. Bullkaka. Plunket says flexibility would be good. Stop while you’re well behind.

But Labour knows best…we’re back to the Nanny state now, and the capital N was deliberate.

What is Labour to be telling us what’s best for our families? It has no right. No-one is asking for a dollar more. We just want flexibility for mum and dad to take the time together. I would have taken it – it would have been so very welcome.

No, this is a case of Labour throwing its toys out of the cot. Labour can’t see past its own nose on this one.

It doesn’t want to pick up the flexible approach because it’s National’s idea. Plain and simple. It can’t be seen to be accommodating the baby blues when the Nats saw red over paid parental leave in the first place. 

This is truly pathetic from Labour on an overall policy that most support. 

Nothing National is asking for will cost more, it’s a disgraceful, short-sighted, pathetic and petty decision by Labour to deny families the chance for mum and dad to share the early weeks together at home.

Of course National is grandstanding. Yes, their record on this issue is poor. But on the flexibility argument they are right.

All it takes now is for Labour to listen.

All this happened while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was out of the country.

But now she’s back she could fix it. The PM could say families are too important to get this wrong. As a father, Jacinda Ardern, I urge you to do it.

Are you really a positive new government that cares for people and doesn’t leave people behind?

If you are all that, then do the right thing. Allow families the right to decide their own future.

I know you’re planning to make it flexible later anyway, so do it now. Give families the right to choose, after all, it’s their life, their baby. Over to you now Jacinda. What will it be?

The relentless positividdy seems to have evaporated. Jacinda’s first day in parliament was rather snarly and unbecoming.

 

-Fairfax

 


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