Minister Kaye welcomed to portfolio by early childhood advocates

26 April 2017
For immediate release.

The announcement by Prime Minister Bill English that Minister Nikki Kaye would take the education portfolio was welcomed by Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand (ECNZ).

‘We’re encouraged by how we’ve seen Minister Kaye operating as the Associate Minister of Education,’ said Acting Chief Executive of Te Rito Maioha, John Diggins. ‘We’re optimistic that Minister Kaye will respect the value of early childhood education (ECE) in children’s educational journeys, and choose to fund it properly.’

Minister Kaye has shown enthusiasm and commitment in her role as Associate Minister to date. The education portfolio is significant and one of the toughest challenges for any minister. With Minister Kaye’s fresh eyes she has the opportunity to recognise that the foundation years are critical to ensure the success of children as they navigate the education system.

We look forward to working with Minister Kaye to repair some of the damage done to the ECE sector following nearly a decade of underinvestment. 

We’d like to see a shift in focus from driving up participation levels to a commitment to high quality ECE with appropriate funding to make this a reality. Mr Diggins said that the relationship between funding and quality was one that needed to be addressed. 

‘ECE funding needs to, at the very least, keep up with inflation to give our children the best start in the education system. This hasn’t happened in recent years and many ECE services are barely surviving as they struggle with ever increasing costs and compliance burdens. They try not to pass increased fees to parents.’

ECNZ calls on Minister Kaye to work to restore funding levels to meet the very real expenses faced by ECE services. 

Mr Diggins added that we are also calling for a return to funding 100% qualified teachers, which was taken from children and the sector in May 2010.

Research underpins the need for a 100% qualified ECE workforce where children are taught and cared for by those that have a thorough grounding in the profession.

‘On behalf of Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand, I wish Minister Kaye the very best as she gets underway with her responsibilities in the education portfolio,’ said Mr Diggins.


For further information contact Martin Švehla on 027 340 6099.
Please note that Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand should be cited in full in the first instance and can then be abbreviated to ECNZ.

About Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand (ECNZ) - formerly known as Te Tari Puna Ora o Aotearoa/NZ Childcare Association (NZCA).

ECNZ represents around 600 early childhood education (ECE) services, providing education and care to thousands of infants, toddlers and young children. Established in 1963, ECNZ has a long history of improving standards of practice in New Zealand’s early childhood education sector.

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