A survey of early childhood teachers has found a quarter of them would not be happy to have their own child enrolled where they work.
Another fifth reported not having time to develop relationships with children, while 12 percent reported consistent under-staffing - their centre was operating in breach of the minimum teacher-child ratio regulations.
The research, by non-profit organisation Child Forum, used responses from 600 teachers from early childcare centres and kindergartens after conducting a nationwide survey.
It asked about conditions in centres, focusing on the relationship and the adult-to-child ratios.
Comments included in the research included teachers likening a centre to "factory farming".
"I have said to my friends "do not wait list your child here... ". I want my child to run on grass and have space to explore or be secluded. I want my child's thinking and humour to be extended by meaningful connection with consistent people," one respondent said.
Another wrote how the ratio of 1 adult to 5 babies was "ridiculous".
"When one goes to change nappies the other teacher is left with 9 babies. One day I was feeding a baby and the other teacher was changing a nappy, another child started crying while two babies were hitting each other with toys - how can you handle this kind of situation?"
Researchers suggested a greater emphasis by centre operators and the Government was needed to support all teachers to provide quality care and education.
"The ability to develop relationships with children is fundamental to providing quality care that supports children to be capable and confident individuals and meet childhood curriculum (Te Whāriki) requirements," the report said.
"It is recommended that the Government and the Ministry of Education focus on quality."
The report follows an investigation from the Herald earlier this year that found government's focus on participation targets - to have 98 percent of children in ECE by next year - was a risk to children's development.
The Education Ministry, the Education Review Office and advisory groups all believe there are quality issues in New Zealand and recently urged Education Minister Hekia Parata to work to raise standards.
Successive reports to the minister warned that poor care was harmful - particularly for babies - and could have long-term effects on learning and behaviour.
Responding to the survey, Nancy Bell, Chief Executive of Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand (ECNZ) cautioned against its conclusions.
She said six hundred teachers were surveyed, just 2.4 percent of the 25,000 ECE teachers out there.
"It's not clear how the sample was selected nor whether those surveyed were representative of the wider sector," she said.
Ms Bell said nonetheless, the report did highlight issues that have been of concern to its members for many years, namely teacher-child ratios for under-2s and teachers' employment conditions.
"Teacher-child ratios are especially important for children under 2 years old who need consistent and responsive caregiving that is finely tuned to their individual needs," she said.
Ms Bell said the provision of non-contact time for teachers was essential if they are to plan for and evaluate children's learning. Most early childhood employers try to provide the best ratios and employment conditions they can but we know that this is a variable picture.
"We would like to see regulations move from 1:5 to a 1:3 ratio alongside the necessary funding increase to ensure that all families benefit, not just those whose parents can afford this. In addition we would like to see stronger regulations regarding the qualifications of teachers working with infants."
The Ministry of Education said it could state clearly that New Zealand's early childhood education standards were among the highest in the world.
Head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said at any one time, 98% of services meet or exceed licensing standards that set the criteria for quality ECE on curriculum, health and safety, premises and facilities, and governance, management and administration.
"We note that 86 percent of the teachers surveyed by ChildForum reported that the required level of adult-to-child ratios were being met at their centres," Ms Casey said. "For the 12 percent that reported consistent under-staffing we would ask them to contact us so we can investigate and act if regulations are being breached."
She said if any teachers in any ECE service had concerns then the ministry needed to hear from them.
"Whenever we receive a complaint, be it from a teacher or a parent we investigate and we act immediately if there are concerns or where we find breaches. This can include putting a provider on a provisional licence, and in rare cases, where there isn't improvement, we shut them down. We are clear and transparent about the complaints we receive and publish these on our website on an annual basis."
The survey can be read here.