Media Releases

Mini budget a false economy

20 Dec 2023

The government continuing to focus on tax reduction at the expense of working families and children in need is a false economy which will have long term poor outcomes for the same families this government is purporting to support, says NZEI Te Riu Roa.

Media coverage of the announcement included the reversal of the planned 20-hours early childhood education initiative extension to two-year-olds, and the future of free school lunches also looks to be in doubt.

Mark Potter, president of NZEI Te Riu Roa, said the union was strongly opposed to the scrapping of the 20-hours free extension of ECE to two-year-olds.

“Thousands of families across the country will now spend Christmas worrying about how they are going to pay for the essential early education of their tamariki.”

He said the union was also concerned that the Minister appeared to be placing the Ka Ora, Ka Ako | Healthy School Lunches Programme on the chopping block. The recent PISA report that New Zealand’s learners suffer from some of the worst food insecurity in the OECD.

“Nicola Willis spoke a great deal about 'social investment' in the lead up to the election, but today’s announcement casts major doubt over that approach. We know that investing in quality ECE offers one of the best long-term returns on investment a government can buy, and making sure kids have full bellies is essential to helping them concentrate at school. What better social investment is there than investing in our children?

“We hope that the Minister reconsiders any decisions to take food off children’s plates and cut funding for the education of our youngest citizens to pay for tax cuts for property investors.”