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Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

Question No. 3—Education

3. MARJA LUBECK (Labour) to the Minister of Education: What investments is the Government making in most State schools so that they can upgrade and modernise their classrooms over the next 24 months?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS (Minister of Education): Some very good news. On Sunday, the Prime Minister announced that $400 million is being spent so that most State schools across New Zealand can bring forward urgent school property improvements over the next two years. [Interruption]

SPEAKER: Order! Order! I’d like to hear the Minister, rather than the seals in the background.

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: This is the biggest capital injection for school maintenance funding in at least 25 years and is the first part of the Government’s wider infrastructure package.

Marja Lubeck: How many schools will benefit from the Government’s latest investment in school property?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: I’m very pleased to say that 2,050 schools will receive funding from the package, with benefit for 661,000 students. Allocations will be based on recent roll numbers. The smallest schools will receive no less than $50,000, the larger schools will receive up to a maximum of $400,000, and special schools will receive $200,000 each, regardless of their roll size, to recognise their property requirements. Schools will be able to spend this money on things like upgrades, replacing roofing, replacing stormwater and drainage systems, installing energy-efficient heating systems, and resurfacing outdoor courts and paved areas.

Marja Lubeck: How will schools apply for the increased funding to upgrade their classrooms and facilities?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: A very good question. Schools are now able to go directly to the Ministry of Education with their property plans, and the school can then go out and obtain quotes for the work. This means that they’ll be able to use their existing contractor relationships and local providers to deliver that work. A quarter of our State schools are in small and isolated communities, which means that this cash injection is going to help to assist in stimulating regional economies as well as benefiting their local schools.

Kieran McAnulty: What does the school property funding announced on Sunday by the Prime Minister mean for schools in Wairarapa?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: I’m very pleased to tell the member that there are 52 schools in the Wairarapa that will receive a total of just under $7 million for their property budgets to bring forward their upgrade work.

Kiritapu Allan: What does the school property funding announced on Sunday by the Prime Minister mean for the schools in the mighty East Coast?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: Even better news. I’m pleased to tell the member that the 90 schools in the East Coast will receive a total of $12.3 million to upgrade their properties.

Marja Lubeck: What other recent investments has the Government been making in school property?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: I’m very pleased to say that this latest investment comes on top of the $1.2 billion that we invested into school capital through the Wellbeing Budget to ensure that we’re keeping up with roll growth. This Government, so far, has announced the upgrade or new build of at least 1,100 classrooms, benefiting 33,000 students across the country, and 726 new classrooms have been built or upgraded, benefiting 15,000 students since the Government took office.

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