The status quo:
14 weeks of paid parental leave, funded by the Government (through the IRD), and able to be split between both parents, or taken entirely by one. It's universally available, as long as the mother meets certain service requirements, and the payment is 80% of the parent's weekly wage, to a ceiling that is currently around $407 (gross) a week. The Employment Relations Service has more information on the scheme.
Originally put forward by the Alliance, it was first introduced in 2002 by the Labour-Alliance coalition government, and was at that time 12 weeks paid parental leave. It was extended to 14 weeks in 2005 by the Labour-led coalition government, with support from other parties such as the Progressives and the Greens. During its existence there have also been tweaks to increase the ceiling, and widen eligibility (most notably to the self-employed in 2006).
Party positions for the 2008 Election:
Act: Policy isn't explicit, but intends to repeal minimum wage laws and "Replace all other regulations affecting employment with common law remedies."
Alliance: "...workers who become primary caregivers should get 12 months’ paid parental leave and their partners should get two weeks’ paid parental leave."
Family: (could not find any mention on website)
Greens: "Extend the period of paid parental leave to 13 months and increase the level of payments to 100% of the average male wage."
Kiwi: (could not find any mention on website)
Labour: No intention to change the scheme. Had hoped to make an election promise around expanding it, however have shelved it due to the collapse of global capitalism.
Libertarianz: "We will abolish the regulations, Departments, Commissions and Ministries, statutes and tax codes that hinder rather than help economic growth." Assumedly this includes minimum employment rights like paid parental leave?
Maori Party: No explicit policy, however Hone Harawira has raised extending it to 12 months in the past.
National: (could not find any policy mention on website)
NZ First: (could not find any mention in the policy document)
Progressives: (no mention of intention to change, however note involvement in the scheme's adoption and extension to self-employed)
RAM: "Extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks and increase the payments."
UnitedFuture: "Extend paid and unpaid parental leave to both parents... Recognise the imperative for fathers to bond with their newborns by an extension of parental leave."
The Families Commission has called for 13 months' paid parental leave by 2015, including a month's paid leave for fathers.
A full index of our policy quickie posts to date can be found here.