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Nats don't know childcare from early education

Wednesday, 6 July 2005

Dunne: Caring Nats don't know childcare from early education

Don Brash's announcement today that he will scrap the Government's planned 20 hours of free early childhood education for an increased childcare rebate shows National doesn't know the difference between childcare and early education, United Future leader Peter Dunne said today.

"And, I suppose, why should they when children and families are clearly only measured as economic units as far as they are concerned?" he said. "National's philosophy is clearly 'get the ankle-biters out of the way and get on with the real work'.

"I doubt very much if parents will fail to see the difference."

The 20-hour scheme is designed to increase participation in early childhood education at approved pre-schools. The childcare rebate covers any sort of paid care, and not necessarily education.

"And the savings to parents of providing 20 hours free early childhood education a week will far outweigh the proposed maximum childcare rebate of $1650, so once we strip away the spin, National is offering a worse deal for both parents and children. What a surprise!" he said.

"They are right to point out that the Government's plan for early childhood education is too inflexible, as it is restricted to community-operated centres, and not to privately-owned providers, but throwing the baby out with the bathwater is just plain dumb and anything but family friendly."

United Future proposes to extend the 20 hours free early education to all registered providers, at an additional cost of around $60 million.

"Early education and childcare are two separate things. National would do well to respect New Zealand families enough to work that out," Mr Dunne said.


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