Has the door that Bill English slammed shut on any chance of reasonable democratic process for the Paid Parental Leave bill been slightly opened by John Key? Key has overridden more extreme stances of English in the past.
Two Dunedin based MPs think so, Channel 9 interview Clare Curran and Metiria Turei.
This is after several reports from John Key while on his visit to Indonesia that suggest possible Parental Leave progress.
And Bryce Edwards has a detailed look at this and other reaction:
The parliamentary politics of the paid parental leave extension, the veto, and the manoeuvrings of the various parties are covered brilliantly in columns by John Armstrong (National’s veto plan shows up weakness) and Tracy Watkins (Belt tightening is not for babies).
Armstrong weighs up which parties are winning and losing on the issue, and argues that Labour has the most to win or lose from the debate: ‘If the political debate stays focused on the social benefits of paid parental leave, all well and good. If the debate becomes solely one of affordability, Labour has problems’.
Meanwhile Watkins thinks National has been the loser because the issue casts the party into the light of the ‘flinty conservatism which helped keep National out of power for nine years’. Watkins says the public knows all too well that when Bill English says it’s not affordable he really means ‘that extending paid parental leave is a low priority for National, compared with other things it wants more’.
Watkins thinks the reason National has clamped down so heavily on the issue is because it’s afraid that a compromise measure could be achieved on the issue by David Shearer, and that ‘would risk giving him a win on a similar scale to the one Helen Clark delivered Mr Key over smacking’.
This idea is backed up today by John Key acknowledging that ‘paid parental leave is likely to be a key issue at the 2014 election’ – see: Nats back parental leave, but will still veto. The issue is also intelligently discussed today on RNZ’s Nine to Noon Politics discussion (listen here).
It will be interesting to see how the PPL progresses.