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Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

In claiming in the House that privately-owned early childhood services on average receive nearly three times the funding of community-owned services, the Minister of Education has risked seriously misleading his colleagues.

"The Minister's claims are nothing but a desperate attempt to deflect unwanted attention away from his discriminatory new "Free" early childhood education funding policy, which excludes 60% of children attending all-day early childhood services," said Sue Thorne, CEO of the Early Childhood Council.

Penalising working parents in this way is appalling. The Minister's Cabinet colleagues who are trying to hold this Budget up as a triumph for working families have a right to be angry. Trevor Mallard has let them down by putting his anti-business ideology ahead of the needs of New Zealand families and is now trying to justify having done so.

"Well over half of the services the Minister has included to get his distorted "average" for community services, are minimally funded unlicensed playgroups and voluntary parent-led groups. To compare these with services that are fully licensed and staffed by paid professionals and provide all-day education and care is a nonsense and the Minister knows it," said Mrs Thorne.

Currently private and community services which provide the same level of service, for the same number of children, for the same length of time, receive the same funding, with the exception of kindergartens whose hourly funding rate is at least 30% higher than all other services.

The issue is not what the funding is now, it is the Minister's Budget announcement to in future discriminate against families who have chosen private services that is being rejected.

"The Minister 's creative accounting may fool some of his colleagues but it certainly won't fool the hard working New Zealand parents who know they are going to miss out, yet again," said Mrs Thorne.

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