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Subsidising Wanganui Collegiate no success story

Chris
HIPKINS
Education Spokesperson

29 August 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT
Subsidising Wanganui Collegiate no success story

Vulnerable students in Wanganui are no closer to a ‘Collegiate Education’ despite millions of taxpayer dollars being spent integrating the private school, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.

National’s decision to integrate Wanganui Collegiate into the state system is costing taxpayers more than $3 million annually.

“According to Education Minister Hekia Parata, the bill was ticked-off on the basis that the school would be accessible to a wider number of students. In fact her decision only allows for seven additional places for day students.

“A taxpayer investment of $440,000 per student doesn’t exactly represent value for money,” Chris Hipkins said.

Questioned in Parliament today, Nikki Kaye answering on behalf of the Minister of Education said that the investment was one that ‘backed the provinces’.

“The Minister is drawing a long bow if she is honestly suggesting National’s regional development strategy is to pump public money into private schools.

“There are plenty of existing state schools with surplus places in Wanganui that could have done with some government pocket money – Collegiate isn’t one of them.

“Worse still, on closer inspection the ‘spaces’ integration supposedly opens up are not spaces at all. Students eager to attend the school will be prioritised in order of affiliation.
Applicants from siblings of current pupils, children of employees and board members, siblings of past pupils and children of past pupils will be given preference and only when those channels are exhausted are other, local applicants considered.

“The kids that really deserve taxpayer support won’t get a look in. Even if they did the school’s fees, which are in excess of $10,000, will price most families out of the equation.

“Wanganui Collegiate offers select students a quality education. But taxpayers should not have to subsidise its success at the expense of other deserving state schools,” Chris Hipkins said.

ENDS

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