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Govt ECE cuts put pressure on parents and children

Phil Goff

Leader of the Labour Party

20 November 2010 Media Statement

Govt ECE cuts put pressure on parents and children

The Government’s decision to slash hundreds of millions of dollars in early childhood education funding is putting our children’s futures at risk, says Labour Leader Phil Goff.

Twenty thousands postcards signed by parents opposed to the Government’s cuts to ECE have been presented to Parliament this afternoon during an event to celebrate Universal Children’s Day.

“We should be here celebrating our achievements in terms of giving kiwi children the best start in life, instead we are focused on fighting the Government’s decision to cut $450 million out of early childhood education.

The Government has tried to excuse its decision to slash funding by saying it’s because of the tough economic times, said Phil Goff.

“John Key has managed to find money to rescue South Canterbury Finance, to pay for missile defence systems and to build new prisons. He just can’t seem to find the money needed to properly educate our children.

“The Prime Minister’s own chief science advisor, Peter Gluckman, has said the first six years of a child’s life are their most important in terms of development. But John Key is ignoring that advice and stripping money out of education.”

Early childhood education centres are not only facing reductions in the subsidies for qualified teachers but are also being stung by the October 1 increase in GST, said Phil Goff.

“Those costs will passed on to 93,000 children and their parents. Anecdotal evidence suggests parents will face increased costs of between $10 and $50 a week because of the Government’s cuts.

“And there’s more to come. A Government taskforce is now reviewing the ‘effectiveness’ of ECE spending, including revisiting Labour’s policy of providing 20 hours free child care.”

Labour will make early childhood education a top priority, said Phil Goff.

“Labour will put children at the centre of our social development policy. We will invest in high-quality early childhood education and ensure there is universal access.”

“New Zealand children deserve better than a Government that puts cost cutting above their education.

ENDS

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