A new report by the Children's Commissioner raises concerns about the level of resources being invested in early childhood education.
But the report’s findings have been rejected by the Government.
The report found that the quality of care for under-2s is variable, and that the current regulatory regime and funding arrangements contributed to this variability.
However, Agriculture Minister David Carter today rejected the claims made in the report.
"This government has overseen a fundamental overhaul of animal welfare regulations," said Mr Carter.
"I have no current concerns about the quality of the baby farms being established under the new regulatory regime."
The authors of the report claim that the best place for under-2s is with their parents.
But Mr Carter said that allowing children to graze in unfenced suburban environments was not the answer.
"Modern farming practices are humane. Gone are the days when animals were simply left to rot in cages for hours on end.
"Under the new regulations we're limiting the periods during which cages can be used. I realise this won't satisfy everyone, and some people will say cages should never be used, but we have to be fair to farmers."
Mr Carter said that the additional burden to the taxpayer in
complying with the recommendations of the report would be substantial.
"It's about priorities. The most pressing priority for this
government is rugby. We've just given $4 million to Christchurch's rugby stadium because they forgot to get insurance,
so we're a bit short of cash for other things right now.
"Plus it's not as if we're going to run out of kids, is it? They keep making more of the little bastards, so it doesn't matter if we lose a few on the way."