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Budget 2007: Healthy confident young Kiwis

Hon Steve Maharey
Minister of Education

Supporting healthy, confident young Kiwis

The Labour-led government is committed to giving our children the best possible start in life through quality, affordable early childhood education (ECE) and by promoting and encouraging healthy, active young lives, said Education Minister Steve Maharey.

"Budget 2007 continues our drive to put quality ECE within the reach of all New Zealanders, with additional investment of $50.7 million over the next four years. That brings our total investment in ECE to $769.7 million in 2007/08.

"As part of regular adjustments, the funding rates for ECE providers will increase in line with inflation, including a rise in the rates for 20 Hours Free ECE. Up to 92,000 three and four year olds will be eligible for 20 Hours Free ECE from 1 July. An extra $13.9 million will also go to kōhanga reo over the next four years.

"Almost $2.5 million is being spent over the next two years to boost access to health, education and social services for vulnerable families with young children. The 'Early Years, giving children the best start in life' initiative includes antenatal care, home visiting programmes, parenting information, education and support."

In schools, the Labour-led government will invest $50.7 million over the next four years to implement the Healthy Eating, Healthy Action (HEHA) plan, to reduce obesity, diabetes and related diseases. This year, HEHA will focus on developing nutrition and physical activity programmes specifically for Maori and Pacific Islanders, improving breastfeeding rates and increasing the consumption of fruit and vegetables," he said.

Schools will also benefit from $599,000 to provide specialist support for children identified with hearing impairments by the Newborn Hearing Programme. That's in addition to $8.4 million over four years for cochlear implant services including to provide treatment to more newborns with serious hearing impairment.

The government is also investing $17.4 million over the next five years in out of school services, as part of a broader strategy to give parents more support through care and recreation services for school-age children.

ENDS

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