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Time to scrap 20-hours-free policy

Hon Bill English National Party Education Spokesman

24 November 2004

Time to scrap 20-hours-free policy

National’s Education spokesman, Bill English, says National supports today’s announcement outlining rate increases for early childcare centres.

The Education Minister announced new funding of $307 million for the early childhood sector. The money will be distributed to both community-based and privately run centres.

“This new initiative recognises that funding decisions should not discriminate between private and public centres,” says Mr English.

“This flies in the face of Labour’s discriminatory 20-hours-free policy that will apply only in some centres.”

Labour’s policy will provide 20-hours per week of free education for three-and-four-year-old children, but only if they are enrolled in non-profit, community based centres.

Mr English says many of the more than 45,000 toddlers enrolled in private childcare centres will face upheaval when the changes come into effect.

“National supports any initiative that treats all families fairly and provides every child with the same access to government-funded preschool education.

“National supports the principles of the early childcare strategy as agreed by the sector. We do not support Labour’s discriminatory 20-hour entitlement.

“The Minister should rework the 20-hours-free policy so that all children are treated fairly,” says Mr English.

ENDS


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