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Nat’s Infrastructure Policy Opposed For Schools

Poll Shows Strong Opposition To National’s Infrastructure Policy Being Applied To Schools

Most people would oppose National's policy of encouraging private developers to build and operate public infrastructure if it was used for school buildings, according to survey results released by the education union NZEI Te Riu Roa.

National released its infrastructure policy earlier this week, but failed to clarify whether or not its proposal to make “greater use of public private partnerships for the development and management of infrastructure assets” would apply to the $500 million school building programme it wishes to undertake.

A UMR Research Associates poll** commissioned by NZEI shows nearly 60% of those polled opposed the idea. Of that group 45% said they were strongly opposed. Just 8% strongly supported the idea, 10% supported it, and 18% of those polled were neutral. Even among National Party voters, 49% opposed the idea 26% favoured it and 21% were neutral.

NZEI President Frances Nelson said the wider community clearly agreed with NZEI's view that public education in New Zealand should be owned, operated and funded by the government. She said National’s policy document was short on details and urged the party to “come clean” on whether or not private developers would be building and operating schools.

"Schools’ ability to undertake teaching and learning should not be compromised by an outside party such as a private developer. The private developer would obviously put profit first which could bring huge uncertainty into education if they pulled out or sold off schools. In the long term, our children and their learning would be the losers.”

National also plans to make the trustees of the Super Fund invest 40% of its funds in New Zealand and use Kiwisaver accounts to fund its infrastructure programme.

**The poll, of 705 people, was conducted on August 30-31st by UMR Research Associates.


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