Working for Families would be available to beneficiary families, paid parental leave extended to 26 weeks and 24 hour free healthcare provided to under 6s, under Labour’s kids policy.
Labour deputy leader Annette King said the party would also reinstate having 100 per cent qualified teachers in early childhood centres that provided 20 hours free access to three and four-year-olds.
It would also provide early childhood education and parent support to vulnerable children aged 18 months to three years.
Under the policy pregnant women would receive free dental care because 18 per cent of premature births are attributed to poor oral health in mothers.
King said New Zealand could again be the best place in the world to bring up children.
“We are committing to making a major investment in children, starting at the beginning up to the age of six.”
The policy would cost $51m in 2012/13 rising to $713m by 2018/19.
Labour said its proposed tax changes would also help children by putting more money in the pockets of low income families.
King said the Working for Families extenstion, along with making the first $5000 of income tax free, would give $70 to $80 extra a week to 150,000 of New Zealand’s poorest families with children
Labour also planned to create a Ministry for Children with a senior Cabinet member as minister.
It would be funded by scrapping the Families Commission, which receives $7.7 million a year.
The Children’s Ministry would be have similar funding to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs which has an annual budget of $4.5 million and the remaining money would go into other priorities within the children’s policy.
Full article at stuff.co.nz.