Auckland wins in National's $350m school plan

AIMEE GULLIVER
Last updated 16:44 12/08/2014
stuff.co.nz

National promises to invest $350 million in Auckland schools, John Key says.

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Auckland will get nine new schools and 130 new classrooms under a $350 million education policy announcement from the National Party.

The funding would address growth in the region as the school network would come under pressure as the population grew, Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye said.

National wanted to get ahead of the demand by expanding and redeveloping schools for students before serious capacity issues arose, she said.

Over the next four years, a National-led government would invest in the new schools spread across the Auckland region, with four likely in the north, three in South Auckland and two in West Auckland.

Additional classrooms would be built to deal with forecasted roll growth at existing school sites across the region.

"All of these projects will need to go through the appropriate process before they are finally approved and built, but we are determined to get on with the task of making sure Auckland's school network is ready for population growth," Kaye said.

Eight schools would also be redeveloped under the policy. Three had already been prioritised due to their locations in high-growth areas.

"We will deal with major redevelopments at Western Springs College in Western Springs, Southern Cross Campus (second stage) in Mangere East, and Sherwood Primary in Browns Bay as first cabs off the rank if we are returned to Government at the election," Kaye said.

The funding would come from a mixture of the Future Investment Fund and existing baselines, including possible public-private partnerships already used successfully in Auckland, she said.

Other areas in New Zealand should not feel neglected by the investment in Auckland, as the Government had recently invested in new schools in areas like Hamilton and Queenstown, she said.

"We know that other parts of New Zealand are also facing roll growth pressures and we are well prepared to deal with those too," Kaye said.

"Today's focus on Auckland reflects the fact that the city is very much at the front end of the forecast growth."
In the next 30 years, Auckland could expect potentially an extra 100,000 students.

Today's announcement would give Auckland parents the confidence that schools would be able to take their children in the future, she said.

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