Early childhood sector debated
‘‘We need a government that's prepared to fully fund the sector.’’
More fully qualified teachers and better pay - those are the pre-election battle cries from the people teaching the littlest Kiwis.
Political candidates offering action in those areas got a good response from the crowd at an early childhood education debate in Hamilton.
It’s been seven years since the National Party removed a funding bonus for centres with more than 80 per cent fully qualified staff and the crowd wasn’t letting the candidates forget it.
Why did they do it, one audience member asked, and have they had a change of heart since?
Dropping that extra funding meant National could redirect the money to areas of greatest need, Hamilton East MP David Bennett said.
More kids are getting an early childhood education, Hamilton West MP Tim Macindoe said, and we need enough teachers to keep up with that. Labour doesn’t agree, Hamilton East candidate Jamie Strange said.
It would restart funding for 100 per cent qualified staff, for example by using money that National would hand out under its Family Incomes Package.
Taranaki-King Country Greens candidate Robert Moore agreed.
‘‘We just need a government that’s prepared to fully fund the [early childhood] sector.’’