English confirmed this afternoon that he had exercised his official financial veto in order to reject the plan – it marks the first time he has ever used the power to abolish an entire piece of legislation.
"Treasury estimates the cost of this legislation amounts to $278 million over the next four years, a significant extra - unbudgeted - cost," he said.
"That's on top of the $251 million a year (net of tax) taxpayers are expected to spend by 2020 under the existing paid parental leave framework,” he added.
Labour MP Sue Moroney's bill, which would have extended paid parental leave from 18 weeks to 26 weeks, had garnered wide support in Parliament was expected to pass into law this month.
Labour, the Greens, the Maori Party, NZ First and UnitedFuture all supported the bill while only National and ACT were opposed.
Labour’s widely-praised parental leave bill has been abruptly blocked by the government after Finance Minister Bill English vetoed the legislation.