Majority of New Zealand kids experience childcare

  • Roger Sowry
Social Services, Work and Income

Early childhood education is accessed by 60% of New Zealand pre-school children, a national survey released today has found.

'Identifying and reducing barriers to employment, whatever they might be and for whatever group faces them is a matter of priority to this Government', said Hon Roger Sowry, the Minister of Social Services, Work and Income said at the launch.

Childcare, Families and Work, surveyed about 3,800 families with children under 14, and finds the people most likely to use it are sole parent families, those with two parents working, those with higher incomes and Europeans.

'We have some work to do,' Mr Sowry said, 'to ensure all families, who wish to, do have access to early childhood education. We know children's participation before five has a positive influence on children and their families.'

"It's also important that it shows the perceived cost of childcare is the single biggest barrier to employment for parents.

'This Government has targeted a range of provisions to low income families to assist them in their parenting role,' said Mr Sowry. 'One provision I expect to have helped meet the cost of out of school care (OSCAR) since the survey was done is the subsidy now available to low income families for out of school care.

'It is clear that women's participation in employment is more likely to be affected by a lack of access to early childhood education and care,' said Mr Sowry, 'but in time we may see this change as access to childcare is now an issue affecting both parents and employers.'

'Family friendly strategies and use of flexible work hours are becoming more of a necessity as parents seek to do well at work and at home.'