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English: parents know best

Hon Bill English

National Party Education Spokesman

1 June 2005

English: parents know best

National's Education spokesman, Bill English, says Labour confirmed in Parliament today that it knows better than parents which childhood centre their children should attend.

Labour's policy will provide 20 hours per week of free education for three- and four-year-old children, but only if they are enrolled with non-profit, community-based providers.

Mr English says the families of the more than 40,000 children enrolled in private centres and playcentres will face upheaval when the changes take effect.

"I look forward to Mr Mallard fronting up to the parents of those children and telling them they have made the wrong choices for their kids.

"Parents know good centres from bad. It might be news to Trevor Mallard and Helen Clark, but parents are not interested in who owns the buildings that childcare centres are in.

"Parents' decisions are based on hours of operation, ease of access, whether they like the teachers, and whether their child is happy. They are not interested in whether or not the centre fits in with Labour's politically correct views on who should look after their children."

Mr Mallard also said today that government-funded research backs his view that community-owned centres and kindergartens provide better quality than privately owned centres.

Mr English says he is wrong.

"The Competent Child Study uses weak methodology and its conclusions are confusing.

"National will ensure that taxpayer subsidies for childcare are distributed fairly," says Mr English.

ENDS



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