June 27, 2024

ECE Network Management’s removal a case of commonsense

The announced removal of Network Management regulation will even up the playing field, reduce unnecessary time and cost and bring some certainty back to the sector, says the Early Childhood Council.

“This is very welcome news. The Government’s attempt to control market access had clearly failed - too much cost, too much time and too many exemptions. The Network Management policy did nothing to encourage services into communities that needed them, making it actually more difficult to address demands for new services. Significant barriers to opening a childcare centre meant only those with the deepest pockets could get through Network Management,” said Simon Laube, ECC CEO.  

Network Management was originally about new services, but the previous Government extended it to cover all current providers in New Zealand. This meant that any time a provider wanted to move, or change the number of children they provided services to, they were charged a fee and had to wait considerable time to potentially have their request declined if the Ministry did not share their view of the need or demand for the change.  

The policy has long been criticised as onerous and unworkable, having been implemented and expanded without adequate sector consultation, with the subsequent lack of certainty scaring off community groups and small private providers alike.

“Setting up a new ECE service is already very difficult, but network management made it more risky and costly – when areas are crying out for a new centre with waiting lists building up, it didn’t make sense to keep this regulation any longer.”

“This is fast, common sense action from Minister Seymour and we look forward to more as the ECE sector Regulation Review starts to make progress,” said Simon Laube.