21 Jul 2014

Greens announce ECE policy

5:05 pm on 21 July 2014

The Green Party has announced it would extend the 20 hours of subsidised early childhood education to two-year-olds.

Announcing the policy at Parliament on Monday, Greens co-leader Metiria Turei said it was part of their bid to tackle child poverty and inequality.

Mrs Turei said in the nine weeks before the general election, all politicians should be telling the public how they intended to improve the lot of New Zealand children.

At present subsidised early childhood education applies to children aged three and over, and Mrs Turei said the extension would initially cost $255 million a year, rising to $335 million in four years time.

The Labour Party said on Monday it would also extend the subsidy, but rather than include younger children it would provide 25, rather than 20 hours. However, that wouldn't take effect until 2017.

Early education spokesperson Chris Hipkins said there are no insurmountable differences between Labour and the Greens in this area. He said Labour would consider extending the subsidy to two-year-olds, but only to those deemed vulnerable.

Meanwhile, the Greens would also spend $32 million a year to restore funding to centres whose teachers are fully qualified.

Mrs Turei said the party would release the details of how it intends to fund its election promises, once the Government does its pre-election financial update.

Boy listening to story at kindergarten