With 10,000 fewer families receiving childcare support, the Government should be doing more to ensure New Zealanders are moving into work, rather than left on a benefit, National’s Early Childhood Education spokesperson Nicola Willis says.
“The Work and Income Assistance Programme provides subsidies to lower-income families to help them meet the costs of early childhood education, after school and holiday care. In June 2019 only 33,072 subsidies were handed out, down from 42,989 in June 2017.
“Childcare costs can be a major barrier for families wanting to move from welfare into work, so it’s concerning to see there are fewer and fewer families receiving income-related childcare subsidies under this Government.
“The number of New Zealanders on the jobseeker support is up 27,000, and the number of children growing up in benefit-dependent households is up 15,000. This is a time when there should be more childcare subsidies being handed out in order to move New Zealanders off a benefit.
“Childcare costs can be the difference between someone choosing to work or choosing to stay on the benefit. Fewer childcare subsidies means fewer people choosing to move off a benefit and into meaningful work.
“We know the growing cost of living is hitting struggling Kiwi families hard. The childcare subsidy is there to help struggling families out by reducing the costs of taking a job or increasing work hours.
“National is aspirational for New Zealanders, it’s better to be independent and working, rather than receiving a benefit, and it’s important Kiwis are supported when they move into work.
“Fewer families getting this subsidy means fewer families getting a hand up into work, and more people left languishing on the dole.”