Hope for creche rules

The Nelson Mail 13 November 2007
Education minister Chris Carter hopes to introduce changes to early childhood care regulations – which have seen some creches close – early next year, but is not yet ready to release details. The managing director of fitness centre chain Cityfitness said the move by the minister was encouraging, but was reserving judgment until details were available. Mr Carter said early childhood education regulations were being reviewed and expected new regulations would be implemented next year that would “rectify any anomalies”.Under ministry rules, all creches that provide education or care to three or more children aged under six need a licence. They must employ a registered early childcare teacher, develop education plans and programmes, and provide suitable sleeping quarters for babies. An early childhood education service can be fined $200 for every day it operates without a licence. So far the ministry has not prosecuted any service caught in the crackdown.National Council of Women president Christine Low said parents should have the right to choose whether their children were placed in a child-minding facility or an educational facility. “Gym creches, Sunday schools, what next: your local teenage babysitter needs an early childhood education qualification before parents can have a much-needed night off?” Forcing regulations on child-minding services “may be taking the red ink a bit far”, she said.