Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party
Planned welfare changes look set to see solo parents seeking work forced into jobs with non-family friendly hours while their children are looked after by babysitters, Labour’s Social Development and Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.Jacinda
Social Development Spokesperson
Spokesperson for Children
Early Childhood Education Spokesperson
8 March 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
Mums at work – kids with a babysitter?
Planned welfare changes look set to see solo parents seeking work forced into jobs with non-family friendly hours while their children are looked after by babysitters, Labour’s Social Development and Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.
“Paula Bennett, the Minister who would have us believe she wants to wrap support around these parents, appears not to have thought through the process at all given cabinet papers which float the idea of babysitting clubs.
“Her welfare reforms will require more parents to put their children into care while they move into work. Yet just yesterday we had another story about the difficulties parents face finding suitable childcare.
“The problem isn’t new. Waiting lists have been commonplace in larger cities for some time.
“Labour’s message is simple – we need to do what works. Simply work-testing parents won’t address child care needs, or the fact that most will struggle to cover the cost of that care.
“Ms Bennett’s solution is to set up babysitting networks, something the cabinet paper notes would be ‘more responsive for care outside standard hours’. Clearly she is aware of the cost of care and the fact that work and care facilities’ hours don’t always align.
“But unqualified, unvetted babysitters are surely not the answer. How could that be in the best interests of children, some as young as a year old?
“If we are going to make a difference in these parents’ lives, and more importantly in their kids’ lives, there has got to be a better solution than this.
Labour’s spokesperson for Early Childhood Education, Sue Moroney, is equally concerned by the move.
“Coming on the back of funding cuts to centres employing the most qualified staff last year, this latest idea reeks of yet another Government attempt to undermine the value of quality early childhood education,” she said.
“On International Women’s Day, our message to the Minister is this: Mothers need to be able to make the best decisions on behalf of their children, whether they are the sole parent or in two-parent households.
“It’s time we worked on ideas which would enable them to achieve that,” Sue Moroney said.