Media Release

May 18, 2020

Playcentre misses out again on further $280 million for early childhood services

Playcentre has again been left out of a major funding boost for early childhood education.

The Government has announced a further $280 million dollars for the sector, but the money will go to only teacher-led services.

Playcentre mothers have already taken to the Prime Minister’s Facebook page to express their anger and disappointment that last week’s Budget did not provide enough funding to secure the 80-year-old Playcentre’s future.

Its national body, Playcentre Aotearoa, says underfunding now places about 100 Centres as risk of closure and poses a real threat to many jobs.

Playcentre educates more than 7 per cent of New Zealand’s preschoolers, yet receives less than one per cent of the Government’s funding for the Early Childhood Education sector.

Its General Manager, Sean McKinley, says with the latest announcement, Playcentre’s percentage of overall funding is even further reduced.

There are more than 420 Playcentres all around the country, with about a third serving rural areas, where sometimes a Playcentre is the only Centre-based service.

“It is those Centres that are the most vulnerable. Yet, Minister Hipkins making today’s announcement said the Government does not want to see children missing out of early education.

“It has been reassuring to hear him acknowledge our parlous state of underfunding. He also has said that the Government wants to see Playcentre survive and thrive into the future, and they will talk to us about how they can do a better job of supporting us.

“But we have already heard that, and our expectations after working with Ministry of Education officials on a Budget bid were that our funding issues would be addressed in this Budget.”

“Sadly, time is fast running out.”

Sean McKinley says the Budget has given Playcentre a total increase of $3.1 million over four years.

“The $3.1 million we have received amounts to approximately $675,000 a year for our organisation, or $1,685 per Centre per year. To be frank, we spend more than that on arts, crafts and play dough.

“Then you have to look at all our overheads – heating, insurance, rates, first aid courses and some really eye-watering property maintenance costs.

“We simply can’t continue under current funding levels and if the Government doesn’t step in this unique learning choice will no longer be available in the country where it was founded almost 80 years ago.”


For further information:

Gael Woods | Communications Manager

021 530 576