Budget 2018

Tahua Pūtea 2018

Government announced an across the board funding increase for ECE in its 2018 Budget, the first in many years. The headline figure of $590 million for ECE sounds impressive, but when broken down, the 1.6% increase in universal and ECE subsidy funding isn’t a significant improvement. It does not restore ECE funding to pre-2010 levels, which the sector has been seeking for many years. It is also unlikely to mean that ECE services will be able to pay their teachers more or charge their parents less. However, the increased investment in Early Intervention is a good thing and will help to reduce the waiting lists of tamariki needing assessment for learning support.

What’s in

Here is a quick summary of Government’s investment in ECE over the next four years:



$ million

Early Childhood Education

Meeting increasing demand

- This is funding to address the impact of increasing demand for ECE, especially ECE price and volume growth


Cost adjustment for ECE

- This is funding will help to meet the increasing costs for the 20 Hours ECE subsidy and the ECE subsidy for (under twos and over twos) to help ECE services and kōhanga reo manage increasing costs of provision and maintain quality and affordability for parents and families

- The funding starts from January 2019, with the first payment to be made in March 2019

- This represents a 1.6% increase in current funding


Home-based Early Childhood Education – Tagged Contingency

- This funding will be used to help home-based ECE services manage the increasing costs of provision and maintain quality and affordability for parents and families

- The funding might be distributed after the findings of the Home-based Review this year are known




Learning Support

Early intervention services

- This funding will enable the Ministry of Education to recruit additional Early Intervention staff; increase the number of contracted places from Early Intervention providers; and increase the number of study awards

- This will reduce waiting lists for Early Intervention

- It is thought an additional 1,900 children will receive early intervention support each year





We also support the investment of $12.4 million in Te Ahu o Te Reo Māori, which will provide for a programme designed to lift the education system’s overall capability for delivering quality te reo Māori provision.

What’s missing

There are a number of investment areas important to us that are missing from this Budget, which include:

  • assistance for teacher supply issues in the ECE sector (noting that schools got $370 million to hire another 1,500 teachers by 2021)
  • increased funding for ECE services with 80-100% qualified teachers (originally planned for January 2019 in Labour’s pre-election fiscal plan)
  • restoration of adequate ECE operational funding to ensure flow down to teachers as pay and professional development opportunities
  • increases to tertiary education providers’ funding, more pertinently for initial teacher education.