MSD must reverse childcare subsidy decision before learning suffers

06 April 2020

New Zealand’s Early Childhood Education centres have a message for the Ministry of Social Development – keep paying childcare subsides, or learning will suffer and centres will go out of business.

The MSD announced late last week they won’t pay childcare subsidies while centres are closed, after initially indicating they’d continue.

“It’s pretty old school to think that just because the door is closed the learning stops. Our teachers are working now, supporting parents with activities for children and keeping vital relationships going through Zoom and Facebook. Learning isn’t just about four walls and a door,” said Fitu Ah-Young, Director of Pasifika Early Learning.

Many parents rely on the subsidy to ensure access to early learning for their children, and often entrust it directly to ECE providers. In turn, many centres are use this funding to balance their books and keep paying their teachers and other costs through the lockdown period.

“Children’s learning is central to everything we do, and I don’t believe removing the subsidy is the answer. Not just in Auckland, but all around New Zealand, early learning centres are the glue that binds communities together. This will be a very steep hill to climb back up when lockdown ends,” said Mr Ah-Young.

“The MSD is creating totally unnecessary stress and uncertainly for children, parents and centres. We demand they re-consider, and reverse their decision before it’s too late for some providers,” said Peter Reynolds, CEO of the Early Childhood Council.

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