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Confused Brash contradicts English

12 November 2004

Confused Brash contradicts English

National leader Don Brash and the man he rolled Bill English are at odds over their early childhood education policy, Education Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

"Dr Brash is refusing to commit to retaining Labour's policy of 20 hours free early childhood education a week at community centres, while Mr English said in May that the policy would not be repealed.

"Who is right and why can't National get its story straight? They can't get their facts right either.

"Their tired old claims that private centres and the kids who go to them won't benefit from this year's budget are rubbish. Of the $307 million that the government is investing to improve the quality of early childhood education provided, about half will go to private centres.

"This investment is designed to cover the costs of hiring qualified staff, of reducing staff: child ratios for instance. Private centres will certainly not miss out.

"Dr Brash should also read the business pages. Instead of closing, there are reports that chains of private early childhood centres are actually expanding.

"He promises to subsidise private businesses at the same level as non profit organisations, yet his education spokesman is refusing to promise to increase the education budget. Who is right? Does this mean Dr Brash will slash education spending somewhere else to carry out his plans?" Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS

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