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Are Sunday schools safe? Yes or no, Minister.

Paula Bennett MP
National Party Associate Education Spokeswoman (Early Childhood)

13 November 2007

Are Sunday schools safe? Yes or no, Minister.

It's time for Chris Carter to give an unequivocal assurance that Sunday schools and gym crèches are going to be safe from the meddling of his Ministry, says National's Associate Education (Early Childhood) spokeswoman, Paula Bennett.

"His officials have already wrecked the exercise regimes of hundreds of parents by closing the crèches in 10 gyms because they didn't comply with stringent licensing regulations.

"Chris Carter has admitted that Sunday schools breach the Education Act as well because they have unlicensed people supervising more than three children, but he says his officials won't close them.

"However, last week he denied that the blanket application of these ridiculous laws was responsible for the closure of the 10 gym crèches, which will come as a huge surprise to the former Minister, Steve Maharey, who supplied me with a list of the crèches. We have now discovered another two gym crèches in Wellington have also closed.

"Gym crèches and Sunday schools are baby sitting services. They are not, and were never intended to be, licensed early childhood education centres.

"Chris Carter cannot hide behind the 'review' of this legislation any longer. That review has been going on for five years with zilch results.

"A month ago, I wrote to Steve Maharey asking for a moratorium on any further closures while this mess is sorted out.

"It's a simple question, Minister. Are Sunday schools and gym crèches safe from this ridiculous red tape?

"Yes or no."

ENDS

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