Monday, November 07, 2022

Labour's morally indefensible choices

Labour held its party conference over the weekend, and the government announced a minor expansion of its free ECE policy - actually a subsidy to ECE providers - to try and shore up middle-class support. And in the Herald today, Jacinda Ardern said she'd go further if money was no object:

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the one big idea she would have if money was not a factor would be to make early childhood education completely free.


“One of the things I know makes a difference to kids’ lives in the long term is their access to early childhood education.

“It is the most important part of our education system and yet in some ways for many, it is the most inaccessible.

“I’d make it completely free. Completely free. And when I say completely free, I’d also give choice to families about at what point and stage their child accesses it. Because for some we know it provides stability to kids that they might not have in their home life.”

She's right, and its worth doing: investing in children is one of the best things our society can do. But she's not doing it, because supposedly, the government can't afford it. And at the same time, she's shovelling $3.3 billion every year at subsidising agricultural emissions by farmers - which is more than enough to cover the expansion she wants (and then some). So, its not that the government can't afford it. Instead, it has made a choice, that the profits of a tiny rural elite are more important than a good start in life for every kiwi kid. And coming from a Labour government, that choice looks morally indefensible.