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New papers prove ‘20 hours free’ is a cruel hoax

John Key MP
National Party Leader
15 February 2007

New papers prove ‘20 hours free’ is a cruel hoax

The Government promise of ‘20 hours free’ childcare will force some parents into signing contracts with their provider, thereby locking them into years of paying ‘optional charges’, says National Party Leader John Key.

Documents obtained under the Official Information Act show the Labour Government has been told services will refuse to enrol children of parents who do not agree to pay optional charges.

“Labour sold this policy promising ‘20 hours free’ care for all three and four year olds,” says Mr Key.

“But these papers show that cash-strapped services will force parents into contracts agreeing to top up the cost of the free scheme through optional charges.

“Labour has lumped the early childhood sector with an unworkable policy which will see parents paying more - not less - for childcare and force them into a costly contract to access their ‘20 hours free’.

“Children of parents who refuse to pay optional charges will be forced onto the waiting lists of other over-subscribed services offering the scheme.

“The papers show that the Labour Government was warned in May last year that its plan would lead to a two-tier sector – ‘free at the basic low end and fee paying at the top end’.

“Once again, the Government’s own documents show the ’20 hours free’ promise is nothing more than a cruel hoax played out on unsuspecting New Zealand parents.”

“It’s a hoax when only one in eight of Manukau childcare centres surveyed by the Early Childhood Council have committed to offering the ‘20 hours free’. South Auckland is an area of great need – yet hardly any centres in that community will be able to offer it.”

Official Information Act papers

ENDS

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