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National's 21st century school building plan

John Key MP National Party Leader

2 November 2008

National's 21st century school building plan

National Party Leader John Key says a National-led Government will inject an additional $500 million into school property funding over the next three years to allow for a 21st Century School Building Programme.

"There is an urgent and overdue need to plan for the future by improving and expanding current schools and building new ones. Labour has taken a 'plaster over the cracks' approach to school property and it is has failed to future-proof our schools.

"The opening of the books revealed Labour hasn't made the funding commitments needed to keep up with future school property needs, with a funding hole of at least $429 million over the next three years.

"It's not good enough and National will do better. Upper Hutt schools have been particular victims of Labour's lack of vision for school property. In recent years they've had to put up with blow after blow.

"First, Trevor Mallard's school network review threatened to close them down, then Labour put a moratorium on new capital works, followed by a U-turn on its 'super school' proposal.

"As if that wasn't bad enough, Labour has now done an about face and made a completely inadequate allocation of funding to help the schools get their facilities up to scratch.

"National is committed to getting Upper Hutt school buildings up-to-standard and we will commit the funding needed to ensure this happens. We will make an additional capital injection of at least $30 million into the Upper Hutt schools affected by Labour's building moratorium to help make up for the shortfall in property funding."

Mr Key noted that Upper Hutt College, Heretaunga College, Maidstone Intermediate and Fergusson Intermediate were all subject to a freeze on property spending under Labour.

"We will work with these schools to determine their needs and allocate funding accordingly. Upper Hutt is one of many communities in New Zealand where school buildings are increasingly unfit for New Zealand's future.

"The additional funding I am committing today will allow National to expand popular schools, build new ones, and future-proof existing schools throughout New Zealand. National will work with schools to provide better facilities for technology and trades training, ICT, special education and to ensure that our schools are future-proofed with modern learning environments.

"New Zealanders have a right to expect that our schools will be up to the task of providing our children with the skills and knowledge they need to prosper in the 21st Century. Labour has failed to meet that challenge, National will rise to it."

ENDS


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