|Approved early childhood education|
More important is how the government intends to monitor whether beneficiary parents are sending their children to an approved ECE programme. Either they ask the beneficiary and trust them, or check up on them. What are the compliance costs of that for both WINZ and ECE centres, many of which are quite small. In addition, many beneficiary (and non-beneficiary) parents move regularly and this makes both compliance and monitoring difficult. Or WINZ could check ECE rolls off against WINZ data. This is feasible, especially with a government that is a world leader in data sharing on a scale that would not be tolerated in most democracies.
However, the mystery of how parents are to be monitored deepened with this response from Peter Reynolds, chief executive officer of the Early Childhood Council. According to this "both the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social Development have repeatedly stated there are no arrangements in place to exchange information and no immediate plans to do so." But wait, there's more! "...were this sort of activity [information sharing] to be entertained by government, it would no doubt encounter an early childhood education sector unwilling to provide information that could be used for that purpose."
So how are beneficiary parents being monitored to ensure their children are attending ECE as required? And how many parents are being sanctioned for non-attendance, and on what basis? Instead of blustering and blathering about children's wellbeing, why doesn't the Minister work with her education sector counterpart and ensure there are affordable, quality, culturally appropriate (yes, culture does matter) ECE services in low-income areas. To be fair, the government has spent on ECE in South Auckland, just not in areas where it's most needed (take a bow, Takanini). A quality ECE programme in Takanini and its sister suburbs would be much more helpful than cutting benefits for something many parents have little control over.