18 Apr 2012

Maori Party backs paid parental leave bill

10:47 am on 18 April 2012

The Maori Party has now thrown its support behind Labour's paid parental leave bill.

The member's bill proposes to extend paid leave from 14 to 26 weeks by 2014.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says he'll vote for the bill's first reading, and understands the party's two other MPs will do the same.

Labour now needs the support of New Zealand First to send the legislation to select committee.

However National says the legislation is unaffordable and has promised to veto it at its third and final reading.

Labour says it's willing to modify the bill to ease the financial impact.

Labour MP Sue Moroney, who is promoting the bill, says her party is seeking formal discussions with the Government to try and find a way to make the bill work.

Ms Moroney says she is hoping National has begun to realise that there is widespread support for the bill and its intended use of the veto is a bad look.

United Future also backs the bill and both it the Maori Party say they'll consider supporting the legislation all the way through if a suitable compromise can be found.