28 Aug 2010

Protesters say early childhood cuts will hit communities

5:58 pm on 28 August 2010

The organisers of a protest rally against planned government cuts to early childhood education funding, say the implications will be devastating for learning centres, families and communities.

More than 350 campaign postcards were signed on Saturday afternoon as teachers, parents and their children marched in central Tauranga.

The manager of Matua Plunket Kindergarten, Tracy Giacon, says the public does not realise how much the funding cuts will increase the prices that parents and caregivers will have to pay to send children to services with a greater proportion of qualified staff.

One Tauranga centre says it faces a shortfall of more than $100,000, which means it is considering job cuts and price rises.

Another rally organiser, Nadine Hansen of Papamoa Coast Kindergarten, says the cuts will widen social inequity.

"Parents that can afford it will be able to pay for child care but there will be a lot of parents who can't."

The union, the New Zealand Educational Institute, says axing four hundred million dollars of funding from February next year will affect more than 90 thousand children.