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Budget: 25,000 young children excluded

Hon Bill English

National Education Spokesman
27 May 2004

Budget: 25,000 young children excluded

About 25,000 young children will be automatically excluded from an entitlement to 20 hours free attendance at early childhood centres, which was announced as part of the Budget package today, says National's Education spokesman, Bill English.

Scrutiny of the detail of the Government's package shows that the 20-hour entitlement is available only to children attending community-owned centres.

"This means about 1000 privately-operated early childhood centres, and the 25,000 children in them, are ineligible," says Mr English.

"Working mothers who use private early childhood centres will be surprised to find out that the Government values their children less than others.

"In the real world parents have to find pre-school centres that meet their needs in terms of hours of work, transport and cost. In the real world, parents don't have the luxury of deciding whether the owner fits in with Labour's politically-correct views on who should run the centres.

"The 20-hour entitlement will be welcomed by families, but it makes no sense to randomly exclude thousands of children. National will work with parents and early childhood education centres to overturn this stupid and discriminatory policy," says Mr English


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