Live from the Whanganui Opera House, on the final day of the 2019 Labour Party Conference, Jacinda Ardern announced the largest investment in school property in 25 years.
Q: What is the announcement?
A: A cash injection for almost all state schools in the country to upgrade their rundown classrooms and facilities. The announcement is the first part of our new infrastructure package, which we will be rolling out over the coming months. This is the largest one-off injection for school maintenance in at least 25 years, and will have a massive impact on schools and on jobs in the trades.
Q: Who will benefit from this?
A: Kiwi kids deserve a warm, dry, safe place to learn and grow. This investment will ensure that they no longer have to 'make-do' with rundown classrooms - that their school can be a special place where they reach their full potential.
But it's not just our kids and their teachers who will benefit from this infrastructure investment, it will create local jobs too. Upgrading New Zealand's schools after nine years of neglect will take time - and some hard work by our skilled tradespeople. These upgrades are going to create jobs around the country for roofers, carpenters, builders, plumbers and landscapers.
Finally, we know that schools stand at the heart of every community. By investing in our schools, we're investing in our kids, our teachers, and our tradespeople, but also the wider community too.
Q: What is the funding for?
A: A significant portion of school buildings in New Zealand are old and need modernising. Around 68% of New Zealand schools have an average building age over 40 years old and 40% have an average building age that is over 50 years old. Schools spend a significant portion of their property budget on addressing health and safety and essential infrastructure meaning they often have to defer modernisation and upgrade work.
This package will allow schools to complete projects sooner, speeding up the provision of improved learning environments for children. The funding is for schools to spend on much-needed upgrades that have been put on the back burner.
Examples of upgrades for schools may include:
- Updating and modernising existing classrooms
- Opening up classroom space to make it more flexible and usable
- Replacing rather than repairing roofing and guttering
- Putting in more energy efficient heating for schools (e.g. removing coal boilers)
- Resurfacing outdoor courts and paved areas
- Upgrading the school’s storm water drainage systems
- Upgrading resource rooms, staff rooms or administration areas.
Q: How much will each school get?
A: Almost every state school in the country will receive $693 per student, up to a maximum of $400,000, with no school receiving less than $50,000 regardless of how small their roll is.
All state schools opened before 2015 (around 2,050 schools), regardless of size, are eligible to receive a one-off capital contribution next year to spend on school property. For most schools this will represent an average funding increase of 40% over a five year period.
Special schools will receive a flat rate of $200,000, regardless of roll size, to reflect these schools are usually small but face high property costs associated with special education provision.
25-30% of schools are small and isolated, meaning the package will assist in stimulating regional economies as schools will be able to use their existing contractor relationships and local providers to deliver the works.
Q: What will my school get/my kid's school get?
Integrated schools funded through operational funding, schools built through a Public Private Partnership, or schools in leased accommodation are excluded.
Q: How long will this take?
A: Funding will be spent on property projects to be delivered over the next 12-24 months.