Investing in Education Infrastructure


National will continue our aim of giving every New Zealand child the opportunity to succeed through education by committing $4.8 billion in new spending to school infrastructure.

In line with National’s commitment to shift New Zealand’s approach to infrastructure from a just-in-time strategy to one of early delivery, we will develop a thirty-year growth plan and commit $2.8 billion to its first decade, on top of funding that has already been allocated.

This will see about 60 new schools and sufficient new classrooms built at existing schools to meet demand for an extra 100,000 students within a decade.

You can read our 'Investing in Education Infrastructure' Policy Factsheet here.

National’s commitment to delivering world-class education infrastructure also includes $2 billion to fast-track repairs and upgrades through its Fix New Zealand Schools Alliance.

National will:

  • Develop a 30-year growth plan for new schools and classrooms that will be reviewed and updated annually.

  • Commit $2.8 billion in new spending to fully fund the first ten years of the plan.

  • Invest another $2 billion in new spending to fast-track school repairs and upgrades over the first five years.

  • Continue to allocate funding for education infrastructure on a rolling ten-year basis.

Too many schools wait too long for the new classrooms they need, forcing them to convert libraries and halls into teaching spaces. This is bad for teaching and learning, and it reduces the facilities that should be available to schools. This must change.

While the potential demographic impact of Covid-19 is still unclear, it’s likely that Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga and Queenstown will need extra investment to accommodate students as their populations grow.

Fix New Zealand Schools Alliance

National will invest $2 billion in a ‘Fix New Zealand Schools Alliance’ that will bring together builders, educators, architects and engineers to fast-track school repairs and upgrades.

Not only will this give every New Zealand child the chance to learn in a fit-for-purpose education environment, it will also create hundreds of jobs nationwide through incentives for using local sub-contractors and apprentices.

Many schools need to repair leaky buildings, earthquake strengthen, address mould and dampness issues, modernise, and make health and safety improvements.

National will:

  • Establish the Fix New Zealand Schools Alliance that will bring together builders, educators, architects and engineers to fast-track delivery.

  • Allocate $2 billion for the alliance’s five-year period. This will be in addition to funding for capital upgrades allocated through the five-year agreement (5YA) process.

  • Make sure lead contractors are incentivised to use local sub-contractors and labour, including apprentices, to create local employment and stimulate small businesses.

The alliance will be used to streamline major repair and redevelopment projects costing more than $100,000 for the next five years. Delivering repairs and upgrades this way will see the work done rapidly while providing maximum value for the taxpayer.

By creating a collaborative team approach, major contractors can bring professional disciplines to bare, buy material in bulk, find economies of scale and share knowledge.

This will be particularly beneficial given the large number of school repair projects that are similar in nature. It will create certainty for the building sector by providing a clear pipeline of work and allowing them to develop expertise in school repair.

The last National Government invested more than $5 billion in school infrastructure to fix dated classrooms and address legacy issues. More than $700 million was also invested in ICT infrastructure, including connecting schools to fast internet connections.

Despite this investment, too many of our schools still have outdated or worn-out facilities that no longer meet their needs. Several hundred schools have been assessed as being below average condition.

Almost every school leader can tell you about much-needed building work that’s been put-off due to budget constraints. The funding we are announcing will allow schools to accelerate these projects, on top of those approved through their existing property plans.

All New Zealand children should have the opportunity to learn in world-class schools. Now is the time to invest in better learning environments for this and future generations.

You can read our 'Investing in Education Infrastructure' Policy Factsheet here.