Raising a child is one of the world’s most rewarding jobs, but it can also be the most difficult.
On May 21, 2017, I announced ‘The Budget for All Mothers,’ which is the Green Party’s plan to help all parents in Aotearoa New Zealand raise happy, healthy children.
We know that parenting is the most important job in the world, and we want to support Kiwi families with more time and money to do it well.
At the moment, there are too many children missing out on income support when they are born.
I know from my own experience how hard it can be when you have recently been blessed with a new baby but do not have enough money to make ends meet.
We will make sure that every new mum can get some extra money in the first weeks of their baby’s life, by extending the Parental Tax Credit of up to $220 per week to anyone who cannot get paid parental leave.
And every baby in New Zealand will be provided with a Wahakura Baby Pod, to give them somewhere safe and warm to sleep, as well as essential items like clothes and nappies for their first weeks of life.
This is inspired by a programme that has successfully run in Finland since 1930 and is credited with helping them achieve one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates.
Of course, making life easier for parents and more secure for children is about more than just money.
Extensive sick leave
As a mum, I know that there is never enough time in the day, and it gets especially hard when your children are sick.
We want to make sure that all working parents can take care of their children, or their own parents and extended family, when they need it.
That is why we will extend sick leave to a minimum of ten days, so that parents do not have to send sick children to school or kindergarten.
Parents sometimes need more time for themselves as well.
To help make that happen and ensure universal access to educational and extracurricular support, we will extend afterschool and holiday programme subsidies to children from all low-income families.
I can see in my own daughter how having support right from the start has made all the difference.
I want other families and children to be able to grow up healthy and happy too.
We are blessed with a beautiful environment, caring people and a country that prides itself on being fair.
Let is make sure that all families in Aotearoa have the time and space to enjoy this wonderful place we call home.
Metiria Turei is Co-Leader of the Green Party of New Zealand.