National ignored $1 Billion bill for school growth

The previous National Government turned a blind eye to the impact of a growing population and has left this government to pick up the tab to pay for schools and classrooms for 17,000 more students than planned for, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.

“National pursued population growth at all costs, but did not plan for those costs,” Mr Hipkins said.

“It’s one thing to try to boost the economy by increasing the population size, but no plans to pay for the infrastructure to support those extra people is short-sighted.

“This government has had to find the money to start addressing this huge shortfall.

“When combined with the need to fund urgent repair work and there being no money in the kitty to finish the Christchurch school rebuild programme, we’re faced with a whopping $1.1 Billion bill over the next four years.

“For Christchurch, the previous Government approved $1.137 billion for the school rebuild programme but had not set aside the full funding amount.

“That has left a significant portion of it still be paid. The people of Christchurch, however, can be assured this government will make good on the shortfall and the building programme will continue unaffected.

”National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye needs to explain why she allowed this sorry situation to happen on her watch.”