Network Management: Priorities for national and regional statements and new network management regulations for licensed early childhood services

Closes 2 Jun 2022

Opened 14 Apr 2022


In He taonga te tamaiti: Every child a taonga - The Early Learning Action Plan 2019-2029, the Government set an objective for early learning services to be part of a planned and coherent education ecosystem that is supported, accountable and sustainable. Network management is one of the actions designed to support this objective, as it establishes a new process to manage the supply of new early childhood services.

From 1 February 2023, anyone wanting to operate a new licensed early childhood service will need to apply for network management approval from the Minister of Education before applying for licensing. Network management is set out in sections 17 and 18 of the Education and Training Act 2020.

There are two key parts to network management. An applicant must demonstrate that:

  1. there is a need for a new service of the type and location they are offering, and
  2. they are suitable (fit and proper), capable to provide a service, and have sufficient finances.

We are seeking your feedback on two key areas to finalise the policy for network management:

  • Priorities for network management approval
  • Policy for new regulations

Priorities for network management approval

Priorities for network management approval will signal the need for certain types of early childhood services. These priorities will be published in National and Regional Statements and be factored into the decision-making process for network management approval.

We propose the following priorities for consultation:

  • Māori bilingual and immersion services (that are not excluded from the requirement to seek network management approval*)
  • Hapū/iwi-owned services
  • Services with a distinct Māori identity and culture
  • Pacific bilingual and immersion services
  • Pacific language and/or cultural services
  • Language immersion services (non-English/Māori/Pacific)
  • Services well-equipped for learning support needs
  • Services well-equipped for migrants and former refugees
  • Services planned to operate on a new school site
  • Organisations funded by Targeted Assistance for Participation (TAP)

Where a proposed service meets one or more of the priorities it will score higher than a competing application that does not meet any priorities. However, meeting a priority (or priorities) does not mean the service will automatically be approved for network management, as it may not meet other aspects of the National and Regional Statements (e.g., population growth) or the other requirements of network approval, such as the fit and proper assessment.

Services applying in areas of under-provision (or where there is likely to be under-provision due to population growth) may still be approved despite not meeting the priorities. As such, meeting one or more of the priorities will not be a requirement for a prospective service to gain network management approval.

* Ministerial approval has been given to exclude kōhanga reo and other Māori immersion services from the requirement to seek network mangement approval. This exemption is still going through the legislative process. More information on this can be found on the network management webpage.

Policy for new regulations

Network management will have its own set of regulations. We are consulting on five areas for the regulations:

  1. Information required in applications for network management approval
  2. Processing timeframes for the Secretary for Education and Minister of Education completing assessments and making decisions, as relevant
  3. How official notice of network management approval will be given and its contents
  4. Clear processes for:
    • The Secretary completing assessments of fit and proper status and financial viability
    • Applying to amend the network management approval as anticipated by the legislation, such as the expiry date or conditions set.
  5. A register of network management approvals and revocations that would not be specified in these regulations.

Completing the survey

The feedback you provide will be used to inform final decisions. For more details on the proposals, please read the discussion document or summary here.

The survey will take about 20-30 minutes. You can also complete the survey in te reo Māori by clicking here.

Give us your views | Tukuna mai ō whakaaro