National’s asset stripping agenda hits schools

National’s fire-sale of school houses and land is short-sighted, mean-spirited, and will have huge unintended consequences that we will pay for in years to come, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

Documents obtained by Labour show the Ministry of Education plans to sell off $160 million of school houses.

“School houses are often an essential part of attracting teachers to hard-to-staff schools, particularly in rural areas. They also allow school caretakers to live on-site, providing huge benefits in terms of security and allowing public access to school facilities outside school hours.

“Just this week a newspaper report highlighted the lack of suitable, attractive housing as a barrier to recruiting teachers in rural areas. National’s planned fire-sale will only make those matters worse.

“When rural schools just can’t attract teachers and the bills for increased vandalism roll in because there is nobody on site to keep an eye on school properties, the National Government will no doubt scurry for the hills and leave schools to once again clean up the mess they have caused.

“National is asset stripping valuable assets in order to meet the financial shortfalls caused by their economic mismanagement.

“Past generations have built up the valuable assets National is now selling-off. They are robbing from our kids and our grandkids who will inherit a country that has been laden down with debt and asset-stripped by a short-term government focused on all the wrong issues,” Chris Hipkins says.