NZEI Te Riu Roa says a new report shows urgent action must be taken to improve access to early childhood education.
A report released by UNICEF today ranks New Zealand 33rd of 41 EU and OECD countries based on their national ECE and
paid parental leave policies. These policies include the accessibility, affordability and quality of services available
for children between birth and school age.
The report shows that many OECD countries are providing more affordable childcare than in New Zealand. It says that far
more children in our high-income households attend early childhood education (ECE) and care than those in our low-income
“We know that developmentally, the first 1000 days of a child’s life are most important”, says NZEI Te Riu Roa President
/ Te Manukura Liam Rutherford. “We want to see an education system in Aotearoa that supports all our tamariki to reach
their potential, and ECE needs to be a key element.”
“But this report exposes a clear disparity in access to education based purely on how much a child’s parents earn. Put
simply: right now, tamariki from our poorer families are missing out on education – further exacerbating the inequality
that’s now rampant in this country.
"We need to see a commitment from the government to public provision, to ensure all tamariki can benefit from early
“We know that our teachers are highly trained and skilled, however there is only so much they can do within a system
that is not accessible to our tamariki and whānau.”
NZEI Te Riu Roa
New Zealand Educational Institute
NZEI Te Riu Roa members work in every community in New Zealand, leading and advocating for quality public education.
We are the 50,000 principals, teachers and support staff who work in primary, area and secondary schools as well as
early childhood centres, special education and school advisory services. We come together as NZEI Te Riu Roa - New
Zealand's largest education union, a Treaty based organisation and a powerful advocate for quality public education.
We have the most important job in New Zealand - educating for the future.