School prefab building claims rejected

Last updated 19:48 05/12/2013
Tracey Martin

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NZ First claims a Northland charter school had run out of money and would be established with prefab buildings for classrooms and portaloos for toilets have been rubbished.

NZ First deputy leader Tracey Martin claimed in Parliament today that the Nga Parirau Matauranga Trust, the sponsor of one of Northland's two charter schools, had bought a Northland farm only for building plans to be scuttled by the discovery of human remains.

Martin said the trust had used $620,000 of its $1.6 million in government funding to buy 81 hectares of farmland in Whangaruru, Northland.

After the purchase of the school in October, human remains were discovered, putting a stop to any building on the land and meaning portacoms would be used as classrooms and portaloos as toilets, she said.

She also claimed that if any charter schools failed there was no way for the Government to get the assets back.

Parata said in the House she was not aware of the situation but would check with the Education Ministry but this afternoon rubbished the claims.

"There are temporary facilities currently onsite for the workers who are developing the site and building the school," she said in a statement.

Parata also said payments to school sponsors may be recovered through usual commercial processes if any of the schools failed.

"The Minister of Education has requested a full briefing from Ministry officials on this issue."

Natasha Sadler, the school's curriculum director, also denied the claims.

She told Radio New Zealand the trust had used the Government funding to buy property, hire teachers and get the curriculum ready for the school year beginning February,

Sadler told Radio New Zealand the toilets were brand new, permanent ablution blocks and said New Zealand First needs to talk to the people involved before making allegations.

The affected school, Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru, is a bilingual secondary school for years 9-13 in Whangaruru.

It was one of the first five charter schools announced by the Government in September.

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