Embarrasing boo-boo from Tolley on Early Childhood Education cuts

Friday 13 May 2011, 2:46PM
By Sue Moroney

Education Minister Anne Tolley has made a fool of herself and proven that she’s out of touch when it comes to the real impact her funding cuts are having early childhood education, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Sue Moroney.

During a speech at the NZ Kindergarten’s Association Conference today, the Minister trumpeted the Napier Kindergarten Association as an example of being able to “do more with less”.

“But just moments later, she was corrected by the general manager of the Napier Association, Helen McNaughton, who was in the audience.

“Helen McNaughton said that in fact kindergartens are considering fee increases to families so they can balance the budget. She pointed out the figures the Minister had quoted were from the 2010 year – before the funding cuts were implemented.

“The Minister may think she can get away with misleading the public by using examples like the Napier Kindergarten, but it was arrogant to think she could get away with it at a Kindergarten Conference,” said Sue Moroney.

“The Government is clearly getting so used to quoting misleading information that it forgets to drop the spin in front of people who have the real facts.”

“Anne Tolley also claimed that participation had increased at the Napier Kindergarten Association, but again, Helen McNaughton corrected her. She told the conference that the number of children accessing education through her association had actually dropped.

“This is a sad revelation in view of this Government’s stated priority to lift participation. It appears their funding cuts are having the opposite effect.

“Anne Tolley even tried to square off the fee increases her funding cuts are causing throughout the country by claiming she had been told that “it’s not valued unless there’s a cost to it.

“The Minister should tell that to parents who are struggling to pay for their children to get the valuable early childhood education they need and deserve.”

Sue Moroney
Labour spokesperson for education