NZEI Te Riu Roa, New Zealand’s largest education union, was dismayed and surprised by Mayor Wayne Brown’s decision to insist on cuts to provision of early childhood education in his proposed budget.
NZEI Te Riu Roa early childhood representative, Sandie Burn, said that the union would continue to fight for the teachers and children who would be impacted by the closure of the Council’s Kauri Kids services.
“We are hugely disappointed that the mayor and councillors have put ECE services on the block when there has been such strong public opposition to their closure.
“In his address to councillors and press on Thursday morning, Brown asked councillors to ‘put ideology aside’ when they go to vote on his Budget proposal next week. Well, nothing could be more ideological than his insistence on closing Kauri Kids ECE centres for little or no savings to ratepayers. It simply looks as though the mayor has a vendetta against public services and would prefer to see private businesses profit from the education of our youngest citizens.”
The savings that the Council stated they would make from closing Kauri Kids did not add up, said Ms Burn.
“All he is doing by closing those centres is causing pain for whānau and displacing tamariki during a vital period of their education. These services provide high quality education to tamariki, including those with high learning needs who are often turned away by private ECE providers.”
Ms Burn pointed out that thousands of Aucklanders had participated in the consultation process to tell the Mayor not to close these valued services.
Dozens of teachers are facing job losses and hundreds of whānau across the city are unsure about whether their child will still be able to access ECE.
“We call on all Auckland City Councilors to vote down this senseless proposal, which will cost in redundancy payments as much as it’s projected to save.”
The 10 Kauri Kids centres provide early childhood education to hundreds of tamariki across Tamaki Makaurau; in Beach Haven, Birkdale, Browns Bay, Clendon, Glenfield, Howick, Otara, Papatoetoe, Stanmore Bay and Takapuna.