The education union NZEI Te Riu Roa is pleased to see a commitment from Labour to a national and cohesive plan for the delivery of early childhood education. As part of its early childhood education policy, Labour says that it will develop a nationwide plan to ensure there are enough early childhood education places in areas with low participation or growing numbers of children
NZEI has long argued that early childhood education is a vital public service, which every child and family should be able to access. It says a planned nationwide approach will go a long way towards encouraging and boosting participation. NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter says that recent research has shown the importance of early childhood education in addressing issues such as child poverty, but there is a shortage of centres in areas of greatest need. Labour is also promising to review resource management processes around the building of new centres, which NZEI says would remove some of the barriers early childhood centres face, but schools do not. NZEI also welcomes the expansion of the 20 Hours Free policy and support for it to be offered in more kohanga reo.