Labour pledges full rebuild for Wainuiomata High to replace leaky buildings
Labour is promising Wainuiomata High School students a much-needed refurbishment for their tired and leaky buildings to the tune of $20 million.
Opposition leader Jacinda Ardern announced on Thursday night that, if elected, Labour would deliver a better future for education in Hutt South.
The news was received by a crowd at the Wainuiomata Rugby Football Club with cheers and applause, in what she said would be her last speech of the election campaign.
It comes off the back of the current Government's promise to pour $12m into the high school for weathertightness work, improving existing teaching areas and building new learning spaces.
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To the crowd gathered at the club, Ardern said New Zealand schools needed some work. She was tired of seeing schools struggling.
The $12m committed to the school would be enough only for a facelift, when many of the school's buildings needed a full rebuild, she said.
The school was formed in 2002 by the merger of Parkway and Wainuiomata colleges, but many of its buildings date back to the 1970s.
Some those built for the merger have never been weathertight, and the school has always been limited in what it can provide on the curriculum due to the buildings.
In July, Associate Minister of Education Tim Macindoe announced the upgrade would not start until 2019 and showed the Government's long-term commitment to education.
Macindoe said at the time the investment recognised the school's buildings are ageing with many of them in poor condition and affected by issues such as weathertightness.
But Labour's plan would help the school create a 21st-century learning environment and community hub, Ardern said.
"Wainuiomata High School is redeveloping its curriculum to better serve the needs of its students and the rapidly changing future of work.
"The Government had previously announced it would spend $12m on school repairs and upgrades, but I agree with our Hutt South candidate Ginny Andersen that this is little more than a facelift, and anything less than a total rebuild would not be enough.
"Performance and art run deep in the Wainuiomata community but the school is unable to offer a fully provisioned environment to help students unlock their talents and reach their potential."
A full rebuild of the school would consider multiple undertakings including a wharekai and hospitality centre, technology hub, a high-performance sports academy, and an arts and performance academy.
At the club, Ardern said the visit to Wainuiomata was technically her last speech before Saturday's election.
"I can't think of a better way to spend my last one."