Budget funding delivers an effective cut to early childhood education.

“Although kindergartens welcome any increase to funding, the latest Government budget has increased the funding to early childhood services by only half the rate of inflation, meaning an effective funding cut to services,” says Kindergartens Aotearoa spokesperson Amanda Coulston.

“Underfunding such as this makes it hard for affordable community-based early childhood services such as kindergarten to be sustainable”.

Kindergartens Aotearoa is a collective of six regional kindergarten associations around the country that operate more than 300 of New Zealand’s kindergartens, catering for 12,000 children each day, from Auckland’s North Shore to Balclutha.

The government has talked a lot about its commitment to improving education achievement, but Amanda Coulston says the government doesn’t seem to understand that educational achievement starts in early childhood.

“Delivering an effective cut to services to our youngest children calls into question how strong that commitment really is” says Amanda.  

In addition, it is disappointing there is no clear commitment to learning support to help the increasing number of children who have additional learning needs. “This approach is shortsighted and will cost more in the long run.” says Ms Coulston.

The removal of the universal $5 prescription fees will be devastating for many families. “In many cases, tax cuts will not compensate for increased costs. For example, a person on the minimum wage will save around $6 a week from tax cuts but may have to spend more than that on increased public transport costs or prescription charges”.

Kindergartens Aotearoa urges the Government to focus future spending on a holistic approach to families to ensure that all children have a great start in life.   

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