• Nick Smith
Associate Minister of Education

Associate Education Minister, Nick Smith, as part of his responsibility for school property, this morning visited four potential sites for new secondary schools in the Auckland Isthmus.

"The Government faces a huge challenge in meeting the needs of roll growth in the Auckland Isthmus. There are 15 state and 18 private or integrated schools for secondary students. While the Ministry of Education is investigating the potential for these schools to expand their capacity, new schools may be needed."

Ministry of Education projections indicate an increase of 7,700 secondary school students in the Auckland Isthmus between now and 2009. Mr Smith said the Ministry of Education was investigating four possible sites, of which one or two may be selected.

"It is extremely difficult to find sites large enough for new secondary schools on the Auckland Isthmus because of the scarcity of undeveloped large blocks of land. However, we need to confirm by the end of this year, the level of need and the capacity of existing schools to grow, so decisions can be made about how to manage the growth.

"One of the sites being considered is on the Green Lane Hospital site. Auckland Healthcare has indicated that there is land and buildings surplus to their requirements that would be an attractive site for a secondary school. The Ministry of Education is having discussions with Auckland Healthcare on possible options."

Mr Smith said he was unable to elaborate on other sites being considered because of commercial sensitivity relating to negotiations with owners.

"I particularly wanted to get a first hand look at the Auckland situation because it poses the greatest difficulty in how we manage the growth in school rolls. The Government is committed to providing the good planning, and the necessary resources to ensure we meet the needs of Auckland's growing population."