Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens is concerned about changes to the early childhood sector that remove the requirements for the person responsible to be a fully registered teacher, and that allow new centres to be set up even where there is no need for additional places.

Both these changes were introduced after extensive consultation with the sector, and have either been recently introduced or were due to take effect.

Whānau Manaaki’s CEO Amanda Coulston says while some regulations could be reviewed, and others could be implemented more flexibly, it must be remembered that regulations provide safeguards for children, often very young children or babies who can be away from families for extended periods each day.

The person responsible for an early childhood service needs to have experience as well as qualifications, and this has been widely agreed within the sector. This change was due to take effect in August after months of consultation.

“Responsibility for all aspects of running a centre of up to 50 children is a responsibility that should not be given to a newly graduated teacher” say Amanda.  

Having a planned network of early childhood services was also introduced after years of consultation.

“Public money needs to be spent wisely, and it is wasteful for the government to provide thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money in subsidies to services that set up where there are already adequate similar early childhood places” says Amanda.

“Private businesses have been lobbying the government because they want to maximise their profits from public money, and reducing regulations can help, but at children’s expense.”

Any changes to regulations need to be carefully thought through, with the focus on children’s wellbeing, not on maximising profits, says Amanda.

Amanda was asked to comment on the regulation changes in an interview with TVNZ yesterday.

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