Deputy PM probes childcare snub

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Infrastructure Minister Bill English is investigating a funding decision that scuppered plans for an Arrowtown childcare centre.

Arrowtown Community Preschool has consent to build a second centre next to Arrowtown Primary – to help cope with the Wakatipu’s early childhood education crisis.

A group of parents told Mountain Scene last week they’d been denied the $700,000 needed after applying for a Ministry of Education special dispensation grant.

With waiting lists either bursting or closed at all seven of the Wakatipu’s centres, Arrowtown’s proposed new facility provided a swift solution.

Local MP and Deputy Prime Minister English is “very interested” in the issue, his spokesman says.

“The Ministry of Education has announced a number of these kinds of decisions recently and as the local MP, he will be investigating the decision as it applies to the Arrowtown centre and then have a look at what might be able to happen from there.”

The spokesman says English and Education Minster Anne Tolley have received a letter that Arrowtown parent Juliet Pope sent last week.

“[English] is going to have a look at what was proposed and what the [Ministry] response was, and to get to the bottom of it. It’s something he wants to get on to quite soon.”