Early Childhood Education misses out again!

“Unfortunately, the 2024 Budget is a missed opportunity for the government to deliver on some of the ECE systemic changes that are sorely required and to fund the sector appropriately. Whilst we are grateful for the 2% increase in funding for ECE providers, it doesn’t meet inflation which is 4%. That’s effectively a funding cut and that’s very disappointing.”

“We do acknowledge and thank Minister Stanford for confirming the Family Boost childcare payment of $150 a fortnight, and the recently announced extension of the school lunches programme to ECE.”

“However, today was an opportunity for the government to move from election slogans, towards a plan that outlines how they intend to deliver ‘a stronger, more productive economy’ built on a strong education sector. Today’s announcements for early childhood education haven’t really shifted the education dial for our youngest tamariki. 

Minister Stanford says ‘we have to do better for kiwi kids’! Are our zero- to five-year-olds not kiwi kids?

“The Early Childhood Education (ECE) sector experienced a multi-year funding freeze prior to 2017 under National with small incremental funding injections under the previous government leaving the sector approximately 11% behind CPI over the last 10 to 15 years. With around 191,600 children and 4,483 service providers being affected by the funding, we were very hopeful the government’s stated priority for education would result in appropriate investment for the sector. On this the government has not delivered yet.”

“This potentially means that parents are likely to see further fee increases from providers as they look to pass on the increased costs associated with running an ECE centre. What we are seeing is the government giving with one hand and forcing providers to take away with the other!”

Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand has also been calling for unnecessary regulations in the sector to be removed and the government has committed $11.3m made up of new money along with savings from the elimination of the Productivity Commission and savings from Treasury to create a Ministry for Regulation.

“We are very hopeful that this new ministry will create a balance between the safety and wellbeing of tamariki and the cost of administration workload,” says Mrs Wolfe.

“For now, we look forward to continuing to work with the Minister to progress a better regulatory framework that focuses on the safety and quality education of our tamariki while not creating unwelcome cost barriers for services and parents.”

“We also look forward to progressing work on an investment system review to fix a completely broken funding system and urge the Minister to continue to value quality education by investing in a teacher attraction and retention strategy for ECE as well,” says Mrs Wolfe.

Te Rito Maioha’s Five Point Plan outlining the changes that are required in the Early Childhood Sector.

1. Improve child-teacher ratios – currently among the worst in the OECD – so that tamariki can thrive, learn and be safe with quality education and attention from teachers. 
2. Create and implement a meaningful strategic workforce plan to attract, retain and develop a professional, culturally responsive ECE teaching workforce from within Aotearoa New Zealand and continue to invest in initial teacher education as a priority across all education sectors.
3. Fund ECE services sufficiently to deliver quality education to tamariki and pay kaiako what they are worth, fairly and equitably without charging high fees to parents.
4. Urgently replace the outdated, dysfunctional ECE funding model to meet the real needs of today’s working whānau, tamariki and ECE services. 
5. Simplify regulations to support quality education delivery without over-burdening ECE services with repetitive, labour-intensive paperwork from multiple government agencies.

Media contact:
Rob McCann - Lead Communications Advisor | Kaitohutohu Whakapā Matua

Mobile 022 411 4560 
[email protected]