Family First will lobby the Government to pay parents to stay at home and look after their own kids.

Six in 10 people support this idea, according to a new poll.

"This result is a slap in the face to the policies by National and Labour governments to get both parents back to work and children in to daycare as quickly as possible," Family First's national director Bob McCoskrie said.

"Families still understand the importance of nurture, attachment and the physical presence of a full-time parent during those early crucial years of a child's life."


With government spending on early childhood education being more than $1.7 billion per year, it is essential the benefits of the investment in ECE are weighed against the real needs of very young children and babies, and their families, McCoskrie said.

"Mothers have been undervalued, and many parents use daycare because they simply can't afford not to. Stay-home parenting has been discriminated against by the state."

Last April, National increased paid parental leave to 18 weeks.

In June, Labour MP Sue Moroney's bill to extend this to 26 weeks was vetoed after its third reading in Parliament.

It had the numbers to pass into law, but no vote was held because then- Finance Minister Bill English had already said he would exercise a financial veto.

Jacinda Ardern, Labour's spokesperson for children, believed more choices needed to be available for new parents, but thought keeping ECE subsidies was important.

"Every family has different needs but there are educational benefits of children being taught by professionals," she said.

Green Party MP Eugenie Sage was not surprised people wanted more subsidies for at- home parents but if the Greens got into power, they would look at reintroducing a universal family benefit, paid for each child, she said.


In the independent poll of 846 people undertaken by Curia Market Research, 74 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement: "It is generally better for children when one of the parents can stay home as a full-time parent."

Fifty nine per cent of respondents also believed the Government should also subsidise a parent who stays at home to care for a young child. Thirty per cent disagreed, with 11 per cent unsure or refusing to say.

However, Education Minister Minister Hekia Parata yesterday insisted the present system is working.

"Early childhood education is well evidenced as a way of helping children to be confident and curious about the world and to develop early learning skills," she said.

"ECE is subsidised by the government and provides a range of options from centre-based teacher led, to home based provision.

"It is for families to find their own balance between parental and non-parental care - there is no one best way."