Parents and teachers will be expecting a lot from the Budget following Labour’s many big promises, National’s Education Spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“After spending the last few years criticising everything the National Government achieved in education while talking up its ability to do more, Labour has created very high expectations.
“Among its many big promises, Labour committed to ensuring every school in New Zealand has modern learning environments by 2030 which could cost anywhere between $10 billion and $15 billion.
“Along with the funding needed for the Canterbury schools rebuild programme that Labour did not include a line item for in its fiscal plan, there will be an expectation that there will be a significant injection of funds going into school infrastructure.
“On top of that, Labour also promised to provide $150 incentive payments to try to end school donations, provide free iPads or devices for every child in every school, boost early childhood education funding by $193 million, put in place Te Reo lessons for all early childhood and primary school teachers, remove caps on the number of children accessing the Ongoing and Reviewable Resourcing Scheme, and introduce a School Leavers’ Toolkit – just to name a few.
“It also built up expectations around big pay increases for teachers and support staff. With pay talks underway and teachers seeking a 16 per cent pay rise, Labour will need to have plenty of money tucked away to cover a significant increase. Not to mention pay equity settlements.
“And there will be plenty of business-as-usual spending, for things like school growth and existing programmes, which Labour will attempt to present as shiny and new.
“National increased education funding every year we were in office, all while dealing with the GFC and major earthquakes. Labour inherited a strong economy and will be taxing people more and borrowing more.
“In fact, before new taxes this Government is already predicted to get an extra $20 billion in tax revenue by 2022 as the economy grows.
“That means that the Government has choices. It will have some serious explaining to do if it fails to meet its lofty promises or presents watered down versions of its commitments.”