Opinion: ‘The Budget for All Mothers’

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1143 new babies were born in Dunedin last year.

The Green Party just announced our “The Budget for All Mothers” – which is the Green Party’s plan to help all parents in Aotearoa New Zealand to raise happy, healthy kids.

Raising a child is one of the world’s most rewarding jobs, but it can also be the most difficult.

We want a government that will rise to the challenge of getting a better deal for new parents, with real and tangible support.

Our plan for new babies would mean each baby would be welcomed with a Wahakura Baby Pod, to give them somewhere safe and warm to sleep, as well as essential items such as clothes and nappies for their first weeks of life. Imagine how nice that would be in Dunedin Hospital!

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.

The winter chill has well and truly kicked off, with the last few weeks’ brrrrr setting in. I hope everyone out there hasn’t been too cold or sick.

I know it gets really hard when the kids get sick as well and there are no more sick days left at work.

The Greens want to make sure all working parents can take care of their kids, or their own parents and extended family, when they need to.

That’s why we are going to extend sick leave to a minimum of 10 days, so parents don’t have to send sick kids to school or kindergarten.

We know 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.

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 after-school and holiday programme subsidies to kids from all low-income families.

We are going to make sure 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 can’t get paid parental leave.

I know from my own experience how hard it can be when you’ve recently been blessed with a new baby but don’t have enough money to make ends meet.

We are blessed with a beautiful environment, caring people and a country that prides itself on being fair. Let’s make sure all families in Aotearoa have the time and space to enjoy this wonderful place we call home.

By Dunedin-based Green Party co-leader Meteria Turei