Baby bonus 'misleading', says PM

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Last updated 07:58 30/01/2014
David Cunliffe
DANIEL TOBIN/ Fairfax NZ
LABOUR LEADER:David Cunliffe.

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Prime Minister John Key accuses Labour of misleading the public over the number of families that will receive its promised $60 baby bonus and suggests most who qualify will be beneficiaries.

Labour leader David Cunliffe has promised that "for 59,000 families with newborn babies, they will all receive a Best Start investment of $60 per week, for the first year of their child's life".

However, those who get paid parental leave, worth up to $488 a week - about 25,000 people a year - will not receive the bonus at the same time. The exclusion was included in Labour's background material but not in Cunliffe's speech.

Labour's welfare spokeswoman, Jacinda Ardern, said there was no intention to deceive. "It makes no sense to have a duplicate payment."

But Key said Cunliffe's claim was not true.

"Firstly, 25,000 of them get paid parental leave and they certainly will not get that for 52 weeks.

"Also, those receiving a parental tax credit, which is 15,000, in the fine print we now find out they also won't get that payment." That meant only one in three of the 59,000 would get a full-year payment.

"What that means actually is the only people who get 52 weeks at $60 per week are fundamentally beneficiaries and those earning $150,000 a year."

However, Labour made it clear on the day that the eight- week parental tax credit, a maximum of $1200 paid to those who do not qualify for paid parental leave, would be dumped.

Ardern said those people would instead qualify for the baby bonus.

She said Key was "entirely wrong" to say only beneficiaries and those earning $150,000 a year would get the full 52 weeks.

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- Fairfax Media

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