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National's policy benefits more families

Hon Bill English - National Party Education Spokesman

6 July 2005

National's policy benefits more families

National's childcare policy will benefit more families, more children, and puts more dollars where it matters for parents, says Education spokesman Bill English.

He is responding to comments by Social Development Minister Steve Maharey after National announced tax deductions for childcare.

Mr English says:
· Labour have forgotten there are parents with children under the age of three who use childcare services. 70,000 children under the age of three are currently enrolled in formal early childhood care. Only National's policy will benefit them.
· National's policy covers all forms of care so parents can make choices about how their child is cared for, rather than sending their child to the type of centre that Labour has picked for them. More than 45,000 children are enrolled in privately owned childcare centres. Only National's policy will benefit them.
· National's policy will cost an estimated $160 million a year in direct rebates to parents, whereas Labour's policy is a guess of $50 million cost to government as a subsidy to some centres.
· National's policy comes into effect on 1 April 2006, Labour's comes into effect in 2007.
· National will maintain the increases in sessional grants and childcare subsidies announced in Budget 2005.

"Steve Maharey is simply wrong about the impact of Labour's free 20 hours policy," Mr English says. "He is counting thousands of children who already get free care in kindergartens, and he makes out that all three- and four-year-olds will be entitled to 20 hours free when, in fact, it will be a lottery where only half the parents can win.

"His criticisms of our policy are laced with the assumption that all families want to send their three- or four-year-olds to a centre of Labour's choosing, for a number of hours of Labour's choosing.

"National's childcare tax deduction is direct assistance to families to support whatever choices they make to suit their circumstances. Just this week the OECD criticised Labour's 20 hours free policy because of it's discrimination."

ENDS


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