The Herald reports:
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the one big idea she would have if money was not a factor would be to make early childhood education completely free.
Ardern was asked for one big blue-sky idea as part of the NZ Herald’s The New New Zealand: Rebuilding Better series – for what she would do if cost and the difficulty of putting it in place was not an issue.
Ardern said she had a long list, but if she had to pick one it would be in early childhood education.
“One of the things I know makes a difference to kids’ lives in the long term is their access to early childhood education.
I agree. I would like to see 20 hours “free” from age three to become 35 hours free from age one. There is no other policy which would have such a beneficial long-term impact on child welfare, on education, on providing opportunities to disadvantaged families, to closing the gaps between Maori and European.
“I’d make it completely free. Completely free. And when I say completely free, I’d also give choice to families about at what point and stage their child accesses it. Because for some we know it provides stability to kids that they might not have in their home life.”
Ardern said it was clear there was a price to be paid down the line if children did not get a good start in life.
“It also gives families choices. And it’s a massive cost of living issue. That’s what I’d do. It’s such a shame that it is just so expensive.”
It is hugely expensive, but it is about priorities.
Labour campaigned in 2017 not on making ECE free, but on making university free. They prioritised wealthy future doctors and lawyers and accountants over early childhood education. That is because they wanted students to vote for them.
They wasted billions on pet projects like the failed Auckland Harbour cycle bridge, Kiwibuild etc.
Think if Labour in 2017 had promised free early childhood education within ten years, and was now halfway to achieving that. They would be cruising to a second term.
So instead we have a Government that wastes money left and right on relatively unimportant priorities, and the PM laments they can’t afford to do more for ECE.No tag for this post.