28 Jan 2014

Baby policy to pay off in adulthood - Labour

6:31 am on 28 January 2014

Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta says the party's proposed welfare payment for newborns will pay off later in life.

Party leader David Cunliffe on Monday announced that, if elected, it would pay most families with newborns $60 a week for the baby's first year.

Whanau on modest and middle incomes would continue receiving the payment until the child turns three. The payments would apply only to children born after April the first 2016.

Ms Mahuta says the extra payment for newborns will give them a better start in life and a brighter future.

Evidence shows that, if an investment is made in the early years - particularly for children aged under three - then they're less likely to be worse off as adults.

Maori child advocacy group Mana Ririki spokesman Anton Blank says it's outstanding to see Labour lead its election campaign with a focus on children.

Maori generally have more children than non-Maori and are on lower incomes, and therefore the policy will benefit them hugely, Mr Blank says.

He also backed Labour's policy to increase free early childhood education from 20 hours a week to 25.