National supports parents and newborns
National will progressively extend Paid Parental Leave to 22 weeks as part of its Parents and Newborns Package designed
to support families to grow and stay healthy, while also putting more money into their pockets.
“National will share the dividends of a growing economy, with more support for families with newborns in a new package
made possible only by the improving government finances,” Women Spokesperson Paula Bennett says.
National’s Parents and Newborns Package will:
• Progressively extend Paid Parental Leave to 22 weeks over two years, with an initial step of two weeks on 1 July 2018
followed by a further two weeks on 1 July 2019
• Add flexibility to Paid Parental Leave, by allowing both parents to take some of the 22 weeks off at the same time so
they can be at home with their baby together
• Support women to take care of their own health by offering them one free dental course during pregnancy and up to
their baby’s first birthday
• Give more families a chance to have a baby by providing a third free IVF cycle, and speeding up access to fertility
treatment for eligible couples
Mrs Bennett says this package will make a huge difference for thousands of families during a vital stage in their lives.
“National’s Parents and Newborns package recognises the role of both parents, and allows families to have the
flexibility that suits their circumstances. It is good for parents, good for their baby and will help support women in
the workforce,” Mrs Bennett says.
Workplace Relations and Safety Spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says National has always wanted to increase Paid Parental
Leave in a responsible way.
“We’ve already increased it to 18 weeks and widened the criteria for those that can access it – the improving fiscal
outlook means we can now extend Paid Parental Leave further,” Mr Woodhouse says.
Health Spokesperson Dr Jonathan Coleman says that a growing economy is allowing National to help to grow and support new
“All New Zealanders deserve the chance to have a family so we are also pleased to be able to stand behind people
struggling to conceive, through funding for an extra IVF for those who need it,” Dr Coleman says.
“We also want to support pregnant women and new mothers take care of their health.
“As pregnancy can lead to dental problems for some women, we will fund one dental course for all pregnant women and
mothers up until their baby’s first birthday, including a check-up and any resulting x-rays, extractions and fillings.
“National believes in supporting families to have healthy babies who grow up to be healthy kids, and we are making real
“Around 94 per cent of 8 month olds are now immunised and around 800,000 children under 13 are benefiting from free GP
visits and prescriptions.”
Mrs Bennett says National’s Parents and Newborns Package will ensure parents can spend more time at home supporting each
other and bonding with their babies in those important and stressful early months, and we will help them stay healthier.
“National will continue to ensure the benefits of our growing economy are passed on to families,” Mrs Bennett says.
The Parents and Newborns Package will come into effect on 1 July 2018. It is expected to cost $88 million per year from
2019/2020 once 22 weeks of Paid Parental Leave is fully implemented.