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The Ministry of Education (MOE) today confirmed that the Government has failed to deliver on the Prime Minister’s 2018 promise to reduce early intervention waiting times for young children, National’s Early Childhood Education spokesperson Nicola Willis says.

“The Ministry confirmed at the Education and Workforce Select Committee today that children are now waiting an average of 101 days for early intervention support.

“In April 2018 the Prime Minister promised to reduce waiting times from an average wait of 74 days, saying ‘in the life of a little three or four year-old child who's hungry to learn, that's 74 days too long’.

“The Bay of Plenty has a waiting time of 134 days and children in Taranaki, Whanganui and Manawatu are having to wait 155 days.

“What’s worse is that the Ministry could not even provide a date by which waiting times would be back under 80 days again. 

“Early intervention times were trending downwards under National but despite bold promises by the Prime Minister things have just gotten worse under Labour.

“The Prime Minister promised an additional 1750 children would get help last year, but the Ministry today confirmed only 626 received this assistance.

“This is a huge let-down for thousands of families and teachers who had their hopes raised that their children would get extra help sooner. What matters to parents is the services their children receive – not the PM’s empty promises.

“The earlier we help young children out with services like speech-language therapy and physical therapy the better those children will do at school. Every day matters in a young child’s life.

“The Ministry of Education’s response at Select Committee today confirmed that there has been no real plan to deliver the shorter waiting times.

“That’s not good enough. It’s simply not acceptable for the Prime Minister to make specific promises without the robust delivery plan to make them possible. Our kids deserve better.”

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