There could be one early learning centre a week shutting its doors this year due to a perfect storm of economic factors.
Ministry of Education data shows centre closures have been rising steadily from 17 in 2016 to 40 in 2020 - with no signs of slowing down.
The Early Childhood Council chief executive Peter Reynolds says he fields a call a week from a provider that's in trouble.
He told Tim Dower Government funding is one part of the problem.
"We've got a huge teacher shortage in the sector at the moment. We are still, like everybody else, trying to come to terms with the outcome of Covid."
He says it's affecting the smaller childhood centres, which is then affecting parent choice.