Special Message - Budget 2017
As you will have heard, the budget failed to increase the ‘per child per hour’ funding rate for early childhood services for the seventh year in a row. This is essentially a cut, as there is no allowance for inflation.
NZK (New Zealand Kindergartens, our umbrella organisation) described it as the government failing early childhood education again. The hourly rate remains less than it was in 2008, while costs have gone up by around 12%
Here’s what Clare Wells, the CEO of NZK said after the budget.
“To make a real difference for all children we need to see a comprehensive package that supports high quality ECE for every child in every community,”
“Services that have a commitment to 100% qualified and certificated teachers will find it even harder to make ends meet,” Clare Wells said. “Kindergarten believes low cost, high quality ECE is every child’s right.”
“We’d also like to see the government require all teacher-led services to employ 100% qualified teachers, and fund services at that rate. The government is actively encouraging participation in ECE services – we must make sure that investment is realised by children attending high quality services.”
This budget means Whanau Manaaki’s services are under continued financial stress, and increases the importance of highlighting early childhood education in Election year.
The government says it is investing more in our children, but this is because the number of children under five is growing, and more children are attending for more hours. We need to get this message across to our families, who may believe the government is giving more money to our kindergartens.
There is some targeted funding for “disadvantaged” children in the budget, but it is unclear how this will be allocated. The Ministry says it is for households dependent on benefits.
The budget did provide some additional income for low income families by way of changes to Working for Families payments, the accommodation supplement and tax cuts. These changes aren’t due to come into affect until April 2018.
Here’s a link to more information about how the budget affects children, analysed by experts for the Child Poverty Action Group.
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