Parents and teachers will be feeling let down by the Government after realising education is one of the big losers in Budget 2018, National’s Education Spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“After making big promises and creating high expectations, parents and teachers were expecting significantly more for education than just the business-as-usual funding for growth and increases in schools’ operational funding.
“The increase in schools’ operational funding is less than the average increase under the National Government, 1.6 per cent compared to National’s average of around 1.9 per cent.
“Jacinda Ardern and Chris Hipkins talked a lot about this being a ‘rebuild’ Budget for areas like education, yet the percentage of funding going into compulsory education drops from 13.2 per cent this year to 12.8 per cent next year as a result of this Budget.
“For all Mr Hipkins’ talk about so-called ‘holes’ in the school property budget, he has provided an almost identical amount for school infrastructure to last year and that’s to cover the usual growth in student numbers.
“Noticeably absent is funding to keep pace with accelerated growth in Auckland which would have required capital spending to double to between $300 million and $350 million a year, or any funding for Labour’s promise to modernise all school buildings by 2030.
“Mr Hipkins’ attempt to create a story about ‘holes’ seems more bizarre now – after claiming there was a $215 million hole in the Christchurch Schools Rebuild Programme and promising to speed the programme up, he has only provided $62 million for the final tranche.
“In fact, Labour has failed to deliver on almost all its promises in education. There will be no iPads for every child, no incentives to scrap donations, no extra funding for 100 per cent qualified teachers at early learning centres – and that’s just a handful of the litany of broken or watered-down promises.
“Another glaring example of Labour underdelivering is teacher supply, after only spending about two-thirds of what it promised to spend on addressing the issue.
“The one positive is the extra funding for learning support which will be welcomed by the families and schools that need it, though they might wonder what happened to Labour’s promise of uncapping the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme.
“What makes the small increase in funding and the many broken promises so surprising is that not only did Labour inherit a strong economy, it is also borrowing more and taxing more.
“At a time when the Government is awash with cash, Mr Hipkins couldn’t even get the basics right in planning for growth or getting serious about teacher supply. His Government overpromised and has underdelivered, which will go down as the hallmark of Budget 2018.”