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Government Mini Budget Commits To Invest In Early Childhood Education

The release of the government’s mini budget has created some certainty within the Early Childhood Education (ECE) sector.

“By committing to the planned 4.6% increase in the 20 Hours ECE funding rates, the government has demonstrated that while they’re looking for savings, they are committed to the importance of investing in Early Childhood Education,” says Kathy Wolfe CE Te Rito Maioha.

Budget 23 announced a 4.6% increase to 20 Hours ECE funding rates along with an extension for two-year-olds to the 20 hours ECE. The latter would have cost $1.2 billion and has been reversed.

“With any election, there are often differing proposals. The policy to expand the 20 hours entitlement to two-year-olds has been removed in favour of the new government’s Family Boost Policy. While there are no new updates on the Family Boost Policy, (families earning up to 180k, are expected to receive a 25% rebate on ECE expenses up to a maximum of $75 per week), we are hopeful that the Family Boost policy will reach a significant portion of families, parents and caregivers for under twos, especially those parents who were keen to use the proposed additional 20 hours policy so their children had affordable access to early learning, and they could return to work, thereby helping stimulate the economy.”

“We also acknowledge that dropping the additional conditions the previous government were to have imposed on service providers, demonstrates the government’s desire to reduce the ever-increasing and costly regulatory requirements. Whilst we were pleased with the intent of the 20 hours extension, this is a good sign as we need to work together to promote high quality education, get teachers back on the floor with tamariki and not create further impediments to ECE providers.”

“As a sector we look forward to having those discussions with the Minister as early as possible in the New Year and exploring opportunities to work together with the Minister to improve outcomes for the sector and tamariki,” says Kathy Wolfe.

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