The Government is half way through its term and it hasn’t signed off a plan to manage the increasing pressure on Auckland schools, National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“Auckland is New Zealand’s fastest-growing city and it urgently needs more places available for students.
“Investing in school property to get ahead of growth was a priority for National, particularly in Auckland. Despite the Global Financial Crisis and Canterbury earthquakes, National increased investment in school property to more than $5 billion.
“National delivered 9,000 extra student places by June 2017. We were on track to deliver 17,000 places needed in Auckland by 2019. We knew there was more work to be done, under National in 2017 an Auckland Education Growth Plan to manage adding capacity to Auckland’s schooling network had gone Cabinet.
“We have seen very little progress on future proofing Auckland for the tens of thousands of additional students despite the Minister making comments last year. Figures demonstrate more than 200 schools are currently over capacity in Auckland.
“The Government has not invested to keep up with growth in the last 18 months despite National in 2017 putting aside billions over four years for school infrastructure.
“We know Auckland’s population is continuing to grow and some schools are bursting at the seams.
“Budget 2019 will need to provide a large investment in school infrastructure in places of high growth, like Auckland and the Bay of Plenty, to catch up on this Government’s inaction. Even if there is a large investment the reality is the Government’s spent nearly a year and a half doing very little.
“This week Helensville MP Chris Penk launched a petition for land to be put aside for a new school in his electorate in response to growth and overcrowding in the area. This is just one example where there are schools with growth issues not being addressed. We know there are also major issues in Papamoa.
“Schools, students and their families can’t keep waiting for action while the problem gets worse. The Government needs to get to work and deliver more student places in areas of high growth like Auckland.”