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Clark Plan Targets Mothers And Babies

Hon Bill English
National Party Education Spokesman

2 February 2005

Clark Plan Targets Mothers And Babies

National's Education spokesman, Bill English, says Helen Clark's plan to get more women into the workforce targets mothers of children under two and will make very little difference until Labour does something about its childcare policy.

"Helen Clark's speech specifically mentioned mothers aged between 25 and 34 - the age group that most mothers of preschool children fall into."

Official figures obtained by Mr English show that 100% of four-year-olds and 95% of three-year-olds already participate in some form of early childhood education.

He says Helen Clark's policy is instead aimed at mothers of children aged under two - 66% of two-year-olds, 43% of one-year-olds and 16% of under-ones are currently enrolled in early childhood education.

"The proportion of children in early childhood education under the age of two has risen steadily over the last ten years and no politically inspired scheme will make any difference to that.

"If Labour was serious about getting mothers who want to work into the workforce, they would focus on enabling parents to access childcare that suits their needs rather than continuing to interfere with their personal choices about work and how much time they spend with their children," says Mr English.

Ends

Attached: table showing participation rates in early childhood education


Participation Rates - Early Childhood Education
Estimated participation rate - percent of estimated population of that age on regular rolls of ECE institutions.
Age 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

<1 12 13 13 11 14 15 15 16 16 16
1 29 29 31 30 35 36 37 39 42 43
2 46 49 50 51 56 58 58 60 62 66
3 81 83 86 89 90 92 91 93 94 95
4 101 93 96 100 100 100 99 99 100 103

Source: Ministry of Education, Education Statistics of New Zealand, each year. (website for 2004 figures)

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