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Greens applaud longer paid parental leave

The Green Party has congratulated the Government on extending paid parental leave to 14 weeks and hopes it will now move quickly to provide paid parental leave for self-employed women.

"Today's move brings New Zealand into step with International Labour Organisation guidelines," said Sue Kedgley, the Green Party Women's Affairs spokesperson. "However, with many women moving into self employment as a means to balancing work and parental responsibilities, we hope the Government will move swiftly to extend the scheme to them."

Ms Kedgley noted that the Government's Action Plan for Women, released on International Women's Day, contained many good initiatives but fell short on the details of implementation. "At the end of the day, it stands or falls on the willingness of the Government to put money into the initiatives or to pass legislation to remove discrimination.

"As one example, more money is required in the health system to give nurses fair pay," said Ms Kedgley. "Will the Government commit to that?"

Ms Kedgley applauded the Government's commitment to the principle of work-life balance and called on it to support her Flexible Working Hours private member's bill, which would help women with young children achieve work-life balance.

She noted that the plan highlighted the discriminatory nature of the student loan scheme, but was disappointed that no concrete action was proposed to address the problem.

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