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More smoke and mirrors over ‘20 hours free’

Paula Bennett MP
National Party Associate Education Spokeswoman

18 May 2007

More smoke and mirrors over ‘20 hours free’ funding

The Government is misleading early childhood education (ECE) centres yet again, says National’s Associate Education spokeswoman, Paula Bennett.

“Steve Maharey is crowing about a rise in rates for 20 hours free ECE, but he needs to come clean and tell parents that the increase is only 6 cents an hour for some centres and doesn’t even come close to addressing the concerns of the sector.

“The 3% increase in the hourly rate is a joke! The original figures were based on 05/06 cost surveys and the increase only adds the cost of inflation to the scheme, which starts in July 2007.

“Some centres are only 6 cents better off an hour and most kindergartens only receive an extra 18 cents an hour. This is hardly going to entice the operators of those centres who have been waiting and hoping for support from this Government to encourage them to opt in to this flawed scheme.

“The Government has delivered ECEs the status quo and is trying to sell it as generosity.

“Kindergartens, community-based centres and private providers will all be bitterly disappointed that they have not been heard by the Education Minister. The ECE sector has been trying to explain to parents how flawed the ’20 hours free’ policy is, and this measly increase will be another blow to them.

“It is not too late for Steve Maharey to abandon his fancy slogans. He needs to call this policy the subsidy that it is and drop all pretence there is anything ‘free’ about it.”


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