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Govt to invest $350m in Auckland schools

Hon Nikki Kaye

Associate Education Minister

12 August 2014 Media Statement
Govt to invest $350m in Auckland schools

Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye today announced that the National-led Government will invest at least $350 million over the next four years to build new schools and classrooms in the rapidly growing Auckland region.

Ms Kaye made the announcement during a visit to Ponsonby Primary School with Prime Minister John Key.

“New Zealand is growing strongly and the school network will come under pressure in different parts of the country as the population grows,” Ms Kaye says.

“We have recently invested in new schools in areas like Hamilton and Queenstown, and Auckland is an obvious candidate for significant new investment.”

Forecasts show work will need to begin on as many as nine schools and at least 130 new classrooms in the Auckland region over the next four years.

“We want to get ahead of the demand by expanding and redeveloping schools for students before serious capacity issues arise,” says Ms Kaye.

“That’s why today we are announcing our plan to invest at least $350 million over the next four years to get on with addressing the roll growth pressures that are coming to Auckland.”

The new schools will be spread across different parts of Auckland, with four likely in the northern part of the region, three in South Auckland, and two in West Auckland.

The additional classrooms that will be built to deal with forecast roll growth will go onto existing school sites across the entire Auckland region.

“All of these projects will need to go through the appropriate process before they are finally approved and built, but we are determined to get on with the task of making sure Auckland’s school network is ready for population growth,” Ms Kaye says.

“In addition to the money we are committing to new schools and classrooms, we can also announce today our plan to quickly address specific redevelopment needs at existing Auckland schools.

“Up to eight schools in Auckland are going to require major redevelopments or reconstructions in coming years.

“We will deal with major redevelopments at Western Springs College in Western Springs, Southern Cross Campus (second stage) in Māngere East, and Sherwood Primary in Browns Bay as first cabs off the rank if we are returned to Government at the election.

“We have identified these three at the outset due to their locations in high growth areas, the need to provide certainty to their school communities, and because of the complexities facing each project.

“We will also work to confirm within three months of the election the other five major redevelopments that we expect to be required in Auckland.”

Ms Kaye says the funding for classrooms, schools and redevelopments will come from a mixture of the Future Investment Fund - which contains the proceeds of the Mixed Ownership Model programme – and existing baselines, including possible public/private partnerships already used successfully in Auckland.

“We know that other parts of New Zealand are also facing roll growth pressures and we are well prepared to deal with those too,” Ms Kaye says.

“Today’s focus on Auckland reflects the fact that the city is very much at the front end of the forecast growth.

Questions and Answers

What has the Government spent on Auckland school property in recent years?

Over the past six years the National-led Government has spent over $1 billion on school property in Auckland. This includes investing in new schools, expanding capacity in existing schools, upgrading the internal wiring in schools to take advantage of ultra-fast broadband, repairing defective school buildings (such as leaky buildings), and direct funding to schools through five-yearly allowances.

Why is the Government focused on Auckland? What is being spent on the rest of the country?

We know that there are pressures on schools in other parts of the country and we are committed to dealing with those too.

School property is one of our biggest assets with a book value of $10.7 billion across the country. We have a plan in place to make sure that schools all over New Zealand receive the investment they need to provide the best learning environments for our students and teachers.

Over the past two Budgets we have invested in funding additional changes to school property over and above normal property funding. In Budget 2013 and 2014 we spent $134 million and $284 million respectively. Part of this funding was to build new roll-growth classrooms in Auckland.

We have also committed $1 billion to build more schools and classrooms and top quality school facilities in the greater Christchurch region over the next 10 years. We will look to invest in schools around the country over the next four years through the ongoing Budget process.

As our largest city, Auckland is right at the forefront of this issue and that’s why today’s announcement is focused on that region.

How do you know what the growth is likely to be in Auckland?

Over the past six years the National-led Government has worked hard to develop a much better understanding of the condition of schools in New Zealand, including identifying where there may be pressure on our school system due to population growth.

The Ministry of Education has been working with Auckland Council on issues such as population growth to develop a forecast for areas where we will likely need to provide more schools or more classrooms in the future.

Where will the new schools in Auckland be located?

We expect that there could be four schools in the North Auckland area, three schools in South Auckland, and two schools in West Auckland.

Following the election it is our intention, if re-elected, to undertake a significant consultation process to determine the exact locations and roll size of these schools. We think it is prudent to be planning ahead, and indicating that we are committed to building a significant number of new schools in Auckland.

How many redevelopments will you be undertaking? Where are they?

The National-led Government announced, as part of school property reform, that there will be a number of major redevelopments. These are accounted for over a period of time within normal property funding. However, due to growth pressures, the need to provide certainty to school communities, and because of the complexities of each project, we are confirming several high priority redevelopments and signalling that another three to five will need to be confirmed in the coming months.

We will deal with major redevelopments at Western Springs College in Western Springs, Southern Cross Campus (second stage) in Māngere East, and Sherwood Primary in Browns Bay as first cabs off the rank if we are returned to Government at the election.

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