Media Releases

A backwards budget for early childhood education

30 May 2024

The union for early childhood education and kindergarten teachers, NZEI Te Riu Roa, says Budget 2024 doesn’t deliver certainty for the sector or relieve pressure on centres to meet essential costs, nor do anything to address the long-standing issues for parents or teachers.

With the early childhood education subsidy, which provides funding to centres, coming in at just 2% when inflation is at 4%, the sector is essentially facing a funding cut.

This comes at a time when the Government has already signalled future funding and regulation changes that would leave teachers worse off and children potentially at risk.

NZEI Te Riu Roa member leader and early childhood education teacher Zane McCarthy says it’s disappointing to see early childhood services being continually undervalued.

“The last three Budgets offered significant additional investment in the sector with the introduction of pay parity for teachers and 20 hours ECE for two-year-olds. But this year’s budget is a backwards budget for early childhood education.

“This Government has cut the 20 hours free for two-year-olds promised in last year’s budget and instead replaced it with Family Boost, a subsidy of less value, which will likely not reach whānau most in need due to the administrative burdens on parents and caregivers applying for it.”

The Budget also doesn’t include anything to address the inequities in the parity scheme for teachers or provide additional learning support for children in need, he says.

“We know that for tamariki to prosper and succeed in life they need great foundations and the best possible beginning to their lifelong journey. Teachers’ working conditions are our children’s learning conditions."