Early Childhood

New Zealand First is committed to inclusive early childhood education (ECE) that is accessible to all within safe, nurturing and stimulating environments. We would urgently review the funding model for Playcentre and their dual role as early childhood education role models and as centres that can make parents better parents. New Zealand First is most concerned about the loss of access to education providers for our rural and isolated communities.


  • Review the adult to infant (under 2s) staffing ratio in ECE centres as an urgent health and safety matter.
  • Work with the sector to amend relevant criteria to ensure an increased ability of isolated rural communities to participate in early childhood education such as Playcentre and Mobile Kindergartens.
  • Support the HIPPY organisation in their provision of early childhood education opportunities for 4 and 5 year olds and their families.
  • Establish a fund for research into best practice and innovation in New Zealand early childhood education.
  • Work to bring more ECE Centres into the Learning Support Delivery Model so as to better support those children needing early learning support.
  • Build on the pilots to shift from a “refer out and wait” early intervention system for young children who need learning support to a “send in the experts and deliver” model of early intervention.
  • Pursue the opportunity to bring ECE Centres into local clusters or Kahui Ako to better support the transition of all students into the compulsory sector.
  • Work with Playcentre to recalibrate their funding model to recognise that they provide support around parental education while also teaching how children learn through play.
  • Seek to partner with Playcentre in rural communities so that Justice can use their facilities during weekends and after hours for supervised parent / child visits to address the lack of these facilities in small towns.