The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is deeply disappointed by Bill English’s decision to veto the Paid Parental Leave bill today.
NZNO kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku says that NZNO is a long-time supporter of extending paid parental leave, because nurses and midwives understand the huge impact family bonding has on a child’s health.
“This isn’t rocket science. All politicians can understand the value of family time”.
“Finance Minister Bill English has chosen to play politics with children’s health. This isn’t about the money or even getting agreement from MPs. This is a very deliberate decision to prioritise ‘winning’ over democracy, when he knows he’s been beaten on the numbers.”
“It feels like kicking over the board game just because you know you’ve lost”.
“In this country, children are precious to us, and democracy is precious to us. With one stroke of the pen, the Finance Minister is undermining parents and their babies, and democracy. It is out of touch with our collective values, the values he says he holds himself.” Ms Nuku says.
Nurse and midwife Judith Couch works with new mothers who are financially struggling and can’t afford time off work. “This Government says they value families and want to decrease our rates of child abuse, poverty and sickness” she says.
“I work with vulnerable children, and their whānau who desperately want more time to nurture and bond with their precious babies.”
“I hear Ministers talking about tax cuts and buying new tanks at the same time as saying they can’t afford Paid Parental Leave. If any politician was serious about giving children in this country a better future, they would listen to the advice of health experts actually working with new families, and make it a priority.”
“What these babies need is for their parents to have the time and resources to give them the best start in life.”