More parental leave, GP visits find favour

Last updated 09:18 16/05/2014

Extended parental leave and free GP visits for under 13-year-olds are among the budget announcements welcomed by Marlborough people yesterday.

Finance Minister Bill English unveiled the budget which included more money for health, education, housing and water quality.

The Government's budget would run at a surplus of $372 million for the 12 months to June 30, 2015, he said.

Blenheim nanny Emily Anderson, who is studying teaching part time by distance through the University of Canterbury, said she was pleased that paid parental leave was being extended from 14 weeks to 18 weeks as of April 2016.

Children needed to spend time with their parents at home and this extension would help that happen, she said.

"I went to a course with my work . . . we learnt about the importance of children forming relationships with their parents early on. It's good to see more money being put into that."

She also agreed with children under-13 getting free GP visits and prescriptions from July 2015.

"Some people just don't have the money to take their children to the doctors and they can't take a day off work when they are sick."

She hoped the announcement of $199m investment in tertiary education, would benefit university students.

"With the whole student loan thing, I couldn't afford to be a campus student because you're not working and the money you get from the government is not enough for rent, let alone food and power."

Bruce Webb, of Tuamarina, said he was pleased with the overall budget and thought it addressed things that mattered to New Zealanders. "We have to be educated and healthy, it's nice to have a job and a roof over your head. I think the budget covered all of those areas. I think they would probably like to spend more, but it's money in money out, it's about finding the balance."

Nothing in the budget affected him personally, but he said it was good to see the free GP visits and prescriptions for children under-13.

Robyne Jukes of Mayfield said what she had heard about the budget announcements sounded positive.

- The Marlborough Express

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