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English would halt free early childhood education

28 May 2004 Media Statement

English would deny families free early childhood ed

Education Minister Trevor Mallard said he was amazed at National's promise to scrap the free early childhood education announced in the budget, and to get rid of the extra funding that will go to both community-based and privately-run early childhood education services.

"Bill English is promising to overturn the policy which will extend the free education available to three and four-year-olds at kindergartens to other community providers. This is almost unbelievable," Trevor Mallard said.

"Of the extra $307 million in extra funding announced yesterday to improve the quality of and access to early childhood education, close to half (47 per cent) will go to private centres. This will enable them to lower their charges for parents, and /or increase their profits. Bill English would prevent centres getting that funding.

"Bill English's promise means he would deny free early childhood education to thousands and thousands of kiwi kids, and increase the costs to all other families.

"This is just another example of half-baked, knee-jerk announcements by the National party who are completely devoid of any vision or policy.

"Research tells us that intensive and regular early childhood education funding is critical to ensuring children do well later in life. Unlike National, this government firmly believes that our very youngest kids deserve the chance to get a good start, and we are backing that up with a major funding injection," Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS

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