The Government is 'spinning' the numbers on early childhood funding: Labour

Labour's accusing the Government of "spinning" the numbers on early childhood funding and leaving parents to "pick up the shortfall".

But Education Minister Hekia Parata said the record amount of funding has doubled and more children than ever are receiving early childhood learning.

Labour's education spokesman Chris Hipkins said information provided by the Ministry of Education revealed early childhood services received $10,011 per child per year in 2009/10 and by 2014/15 that had fallen to $9,473.

"Hekia Parata tries to spin her way out of the facts by claiming overall funding has increased. It's increased because there are more kids participating, not because per-child funding has gone up."

When questioned about the fall in per-child funding, Parata said it would be unhelpful to calculate an average because every child care centre has different rates.

Those rates depend on whether they "have qualified teachers or not, the number of children they have in their centre, the age of those children and the rates that are used."

"So there isn't one standard per-child cost," she said.

Parata disputed the more than $500 fall in per-child funding alleged by Labour, saying, "we don't have twice as many kids but we have twice as many dollars".

Hipkins says per-child funding for early childhood education has been steadily decreasing under the National government.

"National also cut funding for early childhood services that offer the highest quality education by employing fully qualified and registered teachers. That has amounted to a cut of over $500 million since National took office."

But Parata said that's not the case and the number of qualified teachers in early childhood education has increased under her watch.

National claims they're "trying to increase participation while continually cutting funding on a per-child basis," Hipkins said.

"That can only result in cuts to the quality of education kids receive or more cost to parents.

"In recent years the cost to parents of their kids early childhood education has increased up to seven times the rate of inflation. In other words, parents are left picking up the shortfall," he said.


 - Stuff