Monday, July 02, 2007

Labour's big policy week

Labour has a habit of agreeing to actions that do not meet its stated intent. It intended to ban child abuse, it banned smacking. It intended 92,000 kids to get 20 hours free childcare education, its getting closer to a third because of substandard funding. With the Kiwi Saver they intended that the government tax credit to kick in immediately - but it won't kick in for some weeks - so the Government has to pass more legislation to fix it.

God news also or those who can afford to go to the doctor - your visits are cheaper provided you are aged 25-44. That will hopefully stop more people going to A&E if they decide that cheaper visits entice them back into the system. Not sure if the community service card subsidy has changed, though.

Also today saw the expected announcement that fewer than half of three and four year olds will be enrolled in the Governments "20-hour free" scheme - and of those enrolled most parents will be paying a top up fee. Only 62 percent of centres covering 70 percent of enrolled three and four year olds have opted in. Thats just 43 per cent of 3 and 4 year olds. Now we know why Steve Maharey didn't want to say anything in Parliament about it last week. About half the child care centres in our biggest city are not opting in, and up to a third of 3-4 year olds will be excluded from the policy.

Watch Labour's media releases come out stating that some areas have a high percentage uptake. Not hard when the area has ten centres - but what they wont say is the percentage of those centres that do not ask for a top up fee. Not likely to see a media release on South Auckland area - parents of preschoolers living there can't afford the extra charges, and the centres can't run with the policy without the charges - and the WINZ childcare subsidy won't subsidise the charges because they are supposed to be free hours.

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