So this happened last week. Via Stuff:
Parents of pre-term babies will now be entitled to a maximum of 27 weeks paid parental leave, the Government has announced.
From April 2016, the standard parental leave payments would be 18 weeks.
But if a baby was born early, its parents would receive additional weekly payments for each week prior to 37 weeks gestation, which was considered full term, Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse said.
“For example, a mother who gives birth at 28 weeks would receive nine additional weekly payments, making it a total of 27 weeks of payment,” he said.
The move comes as part of an agreement to work with ACT leader David Seymour to review the support provided to parents of multiple births, babies with disabilities, and pre-term births.
Seymour previously voted against Labour MP Sue Moroney’s bill to extended paid parental leave to 26 weeks for all parents, saying it was too broad and would cost the taxpayer too much.
But he pledged to lobby the Government after Moroney identified gaps in the Government’s policy, including the lack of special assistance for parents of premature babies.
For about thirty years New Zealand politics was dominated by a radical form of free market capitalism best summed up by Ronald Reagan. ‘Government isn’t the solution to the problem. Government is the problem.’ If you removed the dead hand of the state from its interference in the economy and people’s lives, liberating them from their slave-like dependence on welfare then freedom and prosperity would follow, went the argument. It was the philosophy behind the Labour government of the 1980s and the National government of the 90s. The ACT Party was formed when Labour rejected the doctrine and it flourished for a while, only to wither when Don Brash, a high priest of the cult became leader of National.
Brash failed, and Key turned his party into a different kind of cult devoted to his own personality (maybe personality is the wrong word?). Brash went to ACT for a while, and failed there too. And now David Seymour, the last man standing, has used his ACT party vote to extend the power of the welfare state.
I would have preferred Sue Moroney’s bill. But Seymour’s compromise is better than the status quo. And it’s an expansion of the state welfare system, the destruction of which was, for many years, the ostensible reason for ACT’s existence. At one point in the not-very-distant past all of the parties in our Parliament believed in the perfect efficiency of the free market. Now none of them do.
(What I’m not clear about now is what ACT thinks it is for, other than a taxpayer-funded vehicle for National to exploit a loophole in the electoral laws.)