The Nats’ attack on early childhood education (ECE) is starting to bite. As surely as night follows day, the cuts in funding for childcare centres are showing up as increased costs for parents.
This graph is based on CPI data from Statistics NZ. The y-axis takes June 2006 as a baseline unit cost of 1000. By the end of 2008 this unit cost had fallen to about 680, the effect of Labour’s popular 20 hours free policy. Now thanks to National costs have increased sharply — and the trend shows no sign of levelling off.
On top of the rapidly increasing prices of food, petrol, and other expenses, the increasing cost of ECE is a blow that singles out young families. This just isn’t right. Here’s what National promised at the last election:
We will keep 20 Hours and maintain existing subsidies and fee controls. Thousands of parents are now using the scheme and we do not want to cause them financial uncertainty.
That promise wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on.