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Paid parental leave bill laid to rest

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 29/06/2016

Labour MP Sue Moroney's bill that would have increased paid parental leave to 26 weeks has at last been laid to rest.

It died in parliament on Wednesday night when no vote was taken after a 70-minute third reading debate.

Finance Minister Bill English doomed the bill a fortnight ago when he issued a financial veto against it.

He could do that because it would have cost $278 million over the next four years - money he hasn't budgeted for.

Mr English was forced to issue the veto because the bill had passed all its previous stages on votes of 61 to 60, and was on track to become law after a third reading.

The MP who made the difference was United Future leader Peter Dunne, usually a government ally.

He voted for the bill because his party's policy is for a full year of paid parental leave.

"This is a sad day for democracy, for families, and for the future of our country," Ms Moroney said when the third reading debate began.

"Families and babies are the victims of the veto."

The government has increased paid parental leave from 14 to 18 weeks, and hasn't ruled out further increases.

Ministers considered Ms Moroney's bill went too far, too fast.

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