Christchurch City Council has voted in favour of removing guaranteed funding from nine pre-schools to help pay their rent.
The early learning centres currently receive a total of $300,000 annually to pay the rent on their council owned properties.
Most of the centres are in struggling neighbourhoods and all are community run, on a not-for-profit basis.
A manager at one said the removal of their annual $30,000 subsidy would leave a gap that would be hard to fill.
The councillor chairing the working group that proposed the change, Andrew Turner, said the centres were not guaranteed to have their funding cut.
He said they would have to compete with others for the money, instead of having it guaranteed each year.