New Zealand Labour Party

Labour welcomes Auditor General’s report on free schooling

The Labour Party welcomes the Auditor General’s most recent report underlining every child’s right to a free schooling, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Last year I became aware that some schools were charging parents a fee to enrol out-of-zone students. I asked the Auditor General to investigate the matter and I welcome the report presented to Parliament today.

“No child should be denied a school enrolment because their parents can’t or won’t pay an enrolment fee. The Auditor General has underscored that basic principle today.

“I am concerned that the Auditor General found that the Ministry of Education had given schools inconsistent advice about charging fees for out-of-zone enrolments. The law is very clear that schooling should be free and the Ministry of Education needs to rigorously protect that right.

“The larger issue here, however, is the underfunding of our schools. If schools were properly funded by the Government they wouldn’t need to find tricky ways to ask parents for more money.

“Unfortunately with National’s freeze on schools’ operational funding this year we can only expect schools to have to continue to try things to get more money from parents to make up the growing shortfall.

“Running a school is expensive, as demonstrated by the cost of running an enrolment scheme, so it’s a shame National has frozen funding when such costs continue to rise.

“Labour will end National’s school funding freeze and ensure that they are funded properly so they don’t have to continually ask for handouts from parents,” Chris Hipkins says.