Labour has accused the Government of "throwing money" at charter schools with new figures showing they cost as much as five times more than state schools.
Labour education spokesman Chris Hipkins said today that newly established charter schools were receiving up to $40,000 per student per year compared with the average of $7000 for state schools.
"A handful of children are being funded at a much greater rate than the bulk of Kiwi kids," Hipkins said.
The figures provided by Hipkins showed one charter school, Whangarei's He Puna Marama, was receiving $40,332 for each of its 50 students while the next highest funding per student was $21,247 for each of Nga Parirau's 71 students.
The other three charter schools received between $19,664 and $9688.
"There is no doubt every state and integrated school in the country could dramatically improve their students' results if their funding was increased to match that given to charter schools," Hipkins said.
Education Minister Hekia Parata told Parliament that small schools cost more whether they were charter schools or state ones.
"There is a different range depending on what the size of the school is, what the nature of the achievement level required," she said.
"I am satisfied with the value for money for these young people."
Parata said 712 of the country's 2500 schools had fewer than 100 students and a further 290 had fewer than 150.
The first of New Zealand's first five charter schools opened this year.
They are run in conjunction with community organisations such as churches.
- Fairfax Media