Work it out Helen
Look I’m all for free child care, if you want to get more NZers to have more babies so you aren’t as reliant on mass immigration policies that cause cultural friction, then you have to start spending money on family friendly policies which also enable women to gain back career opportunities thus rebalancing some of the innate gender inequity in child birth ie – helping modern women move on from the dizzying heights of the bare foot and pregnant plateau culture has assigned them. Not to take anything away from the many amazing women who choose motherhood over a career, but there should be an attempt to make the transition as easy as possible back into work IF so chosen, and free preschool care is a perfect way of achieving those aims. So when Helen promised 20 free hours preschool care in the last election, everyone was pleased.
Everyone it seems except the preschools themselves who, if they accept the Government fee, could see them lose up to $3 an hour from where they currently charge. Why would any preschools adopt a funding structure that leaves them out of pocket $3 per hour? The fact that the Government simply keep nodding and telling us that the preschools will pick up the offer is ludicrous, why in God’s name would they?
It is becoming another issue where Labour either seem out of touch with what is actually going on, or they have promised without being able to deliver, either way it is an incompetent ending to a progressive idea that would have really made a real difference in the lives of many mothers and that in turn can only strengthen NZ families.
Preschool where PM unveiled plan gets cold feet
A preschool centre where the Government made its election promise of 20 hours of free childcare a week is getting cold feet about the scheme. The Tots Corner private care centre where Prime Minister Helen Clark and Trevor Mallard, then education minister, announced the scheme in a blaze of pre-election publicity in 2005 is understood to be considering imposing a surcharge on the "free" offer. The Northcote centre will neither confirm nor deny a claim on TV3 that it is considering imposing a $50-a-week surcharge on the much-vaunted 20 hours, an arrangement the Government will not sanction under proposed rules of the scheme, due to be introduced on July 1. Parents now pay $245 a week, or $55 a day, for a child to attend the North Shore centre. Owner Lorraine Manuela refused to comment on the impasse yesterday, indicating that it remained a matter of discussion between the centre and parents. The Government is proposing a funding rate of between $4.09 and $10.60 an hour for centres willing to join the scheme. It says it will not allow centres to treat the money as a subsidy to be topped up by parents. "No, they won't be able to charge anything else," Education Minister Steve Maharey said on television last night. But Early Childhood Council president Ross Penman said he believed it would prove politically untenable for the Government to resist pressure to change the rules "Parents are going to be absolutely furious to find, after being promised a reduction [in childcare fees] of $90 a week, that they are not going to get it," he told the Herald. Mr Penman said the scheme would represent an unacceptable pay cut for any centre with above-average costs, including most in Auckland and North Shore City. It was his personal belief the Government must allow them to charge a top-up.