Support for Early Learning Services

$231.8 million Cost Adjustment for Early Childhood Education

This funding provides a 2.75% funding increase to support services to meet rising costs.

Which services receive this cost adjustment?

All early learning services will receive the cost adjustment to their funding rates.

Home-based services will receive it for both the quality and standard rate.

This applies to the existing ECE Subsidy for Under 2s, the ECE Subsidy for 2s and Over, 20 Hours ECE, and all components of Equity Funding, with effect from 1 January 2023. The increase in Targeted Funding for Disadvantage will apply from 1 March 2023.

The cost adjustment applies differently to the new pay parity funding introduced under the Budget 2022 pay parity initiative. The 2.75% cost adjustment will be applied to the current funding rates. The additional funding through the pay parity initiative will be added to the cost adjusted parity rates.

$265.6 million for Expanding Pay Parity for Teachers in Education and Care Services

This funding continues the Government’s focus on a strong, capable early learning workforce with another step towards pay parity between qualified and certificated teachers in education and care services, and kindergarten teachers. This funding builds on the $170 million from Budget 2021. Progress towards parity is based on the pay steps in the Kindergarten Teachers, Head Teachers and Senior Teachers Collective Agreement (KTCA). 

What does this funding cover?

This initiative has two components: 

  1. It increases the current parity funding rates to accommodate KTCA step 6
    Services that have opted into these rates are required to pay a minimum of steps 1 to 6 to certificated teachers with relevant qualifications and experience from 1 January 2023. 
  1. It introduces a higher set of extended parity funding rates that goes further up the KTCA pay scale
    Services that opt into these new rates will be attesting to paying their certificated teachers with relevant qualifications and experience a minimum of KTCA steps 1 to 6, partial KTCA steps 7 to 11, and paying management staff a minimum attestation of $79,413 from 1 January 2023. 

How will services receive this funding?

The increase to the parity funding rates and the new extended parity funding rates come into effect from 1 January 2023. The earliest date services can opt into the extended parity funding rates will be during the November 2022 funding payment. If they opt-in at that time, they will receive the updated rates as part of their January and February 2023 advances.

The updated funding rates and the new salary scale are published in the (external link).

The new funding rates are in Appendix 1 of the ECE Funding Handbook. 

What is the salary scale for the extended parity funding rates?

The new salary scale is found in Chapter 3-B-2 of the ECE Funding Handbook under the headings ‘Minimum salary scale for certificated teachers’ and ‘Minimum salary scale for management positions’. Definitions of certificated teachers, management positions, qualification groups, recognised service and salary progression relating to this salary scale are also in Chapter 3-B-2 of the ECE Funding Handbook.

Minimum Salary Scale for Certificated Teachers


Qualification Group Notations

Salary from

1 January 2023


P1E, P2E, P3E



























P1M, P2M, P3M



P3+M, P4M, P5M


(E) denotes the salary step entry point for each qualification group

(M) denotes the maximum point on the salary scale for each qualification group

Minimum Salary Scale for Management Positions


Salary from

1 January 2023

K2, K3, K4


Certificated teachers who are appointed to a Management Position will enter the salary scale on the K2, K3, K4 salary step.

What roles qualify as management staff?

All certificated teachers who are employed to work in one of the three following positions in education and care service:

  • K2 – employed to be in charge of a service, and who is not a K3 or K4 employee
  • K3 – employed to carry out professional support, guidance, and administrative roles, and responsible for the management of K2 employees, under delegation from their employer
  • K4 – employed to be responsible for the management of K3 employees

Further details on this definition are in Chapter 3-B-2 of the ECE Funding Handbook under the heading ‘Management position’.

What’s happening with Kōhanga Reo?

Funding has also been set aside to improve pay for kaimahi in kōhanga reo, as it was in Budget 2021. The Ministry will continue to work collaboratively with Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust to agree how best to make this work for kōhanga reo.

$40 million over four years to establish a Regional Response Fund

This fund, part of work to reform the Tomorrow’s Schools System, is being established to meet needs at a local level. It will be managed through Te Mahau and have an initial focus on engagement and attendance.

How will the Regional Response Fund operate?

The Regional Response Fund will allocate $10 million per year across the three Ministry regions (Te Tai Raro, Te Tai Whenua, and Te Tai Runga) from 1 July 2022.

The fund will provide frontline staff with the resources they need to deliver responsive frontline support and services. While in the first instance this will have strong focus on local initiatives that target attendance and engagement in the compulsory sector, the intention is that it also helps the Ministry, through Te Mahau, to support the sector (including early learning).

$5 million over four years to continue to expand Tapasā

In Budget 2021, $5 million was invested to deliver professional learning and development for teachers and leaders in early learning and in schooling, focused on the use of Tapasā, cultural competencies for teachers of Pacific learners.

A further $5 million in funding repurposed within Vote Education will be used to expand and embed Tapasā. Funding will ensure that professional learning and development is available to teachers and leaders across early learning and the compulsory sector.

When and how will funding be available?

The funding will be available from 1 July 2022 and will fund providers already contracted to deliver Tapasā.

Early learning services and schools with higher numbers of Pacific learners will eb able to apply for the PLD.

$7.8 million to address cost pressures in the Incredible Years programmes

The Incredible Years suit of programmes support caregivers, whānau, and school and early childhood educators to improve young children’s communication skills and emotional regulation.

This is initiative increases funding for IY programme contracts to help meet rising costs. This change represents a 19.4% increase in funding in an area which has not seen a change for many years.

More funding to support New Zealand Sign Language through First Signs

$1.87 million of new operating funding over four years will provide a funding increase for First Signs.

First Signs is a home-based service for families and deaf children under the age of five. First signs supports families to strengthen their communication with their deaf child. Additional funding will help the service to meet cost pressure as well as expanding the service to an extra 100 children and their families by year 4.

Funding to begin implementation of a new Equity Index in early learning

Funding is being provided as a first step towards implementing a new Equity Index in early learning. This initial funding will cover system changes and other implementation costs and will be a foundation for future investment. 

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