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The great early childhood hoax

Hon Tau Henare
National Party Associate Education Spokesman

16 November 2006


The great early childhood hoax

The Labour Government cannot deliver on its promise to provide 86,000 toddlers with access to 20 hours free childcare, says National’s Associate Education spokesman, Tau Henare.

His comments follow the release of an Early Childhood Council survey which finds that 73% of providers in Auckland and 76% in Wellington do not expect to provide the service at the current level of subsidy.

Nationwide, 40% of early childhood providers do not expect to offer the service.

“In the 2005 election, Labour campaigned on 20 hours of free early childhood education for all three and four-year-olds,” says Mr Henare, who is responsible for early childhood education.

“But if the centres won’t provide it, Labour can’t deliver it.

“Many centres know they will go broke if they offer the service, because the Government will pay an average hourly rate across the board, irrespective of circumstances. What might be sufficient for places like Invercargill will not be sufficient in Auckland or Wellington where overheads are much higher.

“The policy is a hoax. Labour has broken its promise to parents.

“Parents believe they will have an entitlement to 20 hours free early childhood education – the truth is many of them won’t receive a dime,” says Mr Henare.


Ends

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