More than 1500 local children and their families will be directly affected by the budget cuts to early childhood education says Rimutaka Labour MP, Chris Hipkins.
Mr Hipkins has called a public meeting on Thursday 29 July to address the impact of these cuts on Hutt Valley families. The meeting will also be attended by senior Labour MP Trevor Mallard.
Information obtained by Mr Hipkins from the Ministry of Education shows that there are 1614 children enrolled at the 34 early childhood education services in the Rimutaka electorate that currently receive funding for having 80-100 percent qualified staff. The Government has cut that funding from February next year.
“Those families now face the prospect of fee increases or reduced quality of education for their children,” says Mr Hipkins. “They have every right to feel betrayed by a Government who broke their promise to keep existing early childhood education subsidies in place.
“The funding cuts leave a shortfall of $25 per child per week on average. Upper Hutt centres are now forced to decide whether to pass this cost onto parents or sacrifice the quality of the education they are providing.
“More than 1000 of the Rimutaka children go to early childhood education centres that currently receive funding for 100% qualified staff and therefore will be the hardest hit by the Government cuts.
“This is not the brighter future this Government promised Rimutaka families,” he said. “They are dumbing down our children’s future with these cuts, while increasing costs to families”
“Labour worked hard to improve the quality and affordability of education for children. Now that is under attack.”
The public meeting will be held at 7.00pm, Thursday 29 July, at Family Works Centre, 4 Exchange Street.