January 27, 2014
Baby bonus Labour’s Best Start
David Cunliffe has unveiled a baby bonus as the first major plank of Labour’s election year policy.
The Labour leader delivered a state of the nation speech to a packed hall at Kelston Girls High School yesterday.
He said New Zealand has gone from being a land of opportunity to a place where one in five children don’t have two pairs of shoes to go to school with, and charities are seeking sponsors for kiwi kids.
A Labour-led Government would turn that around, starting with a $60 a week payment for the first year of a baby’s life for all families with a combined income of $150,000 and under.
Paid parental leave would be extended to 26 weeks, and there would be incentives for new mothers to attend ante-natal classes.
He also promised Labour will partner with low income communities to build early childhood centres, and it will increase free early childhood education from 20 to 25 hours a week.
The programme will be funded by dropping less-targeted policies like excluding fruit and vegetables from GST, and also by asking the country’s wealthiest to give kiwi kids the best start – "if you know what I mean," Mr Cunliffe said, in a clear indication of tax rises.
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