13 Dec 2015

No transparency in PPP savings, Labour says

7:27 pm on 13 December 2015

There is no evidence that six new public private partnership schools (PPP) will save the tax payer any money, Labour says.

Christchurch construction.

Christchurch construction. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Education Minister Hekia Parata announced today that the new PPP schools will be built in Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch.

The schools would be built to meet population growth in Auckland, Hamilton, or as part of the Christchurch schools rebuild programme.

It would normally cost the government between $150 and $200 million upfront to build these schools, but the PPP was expected to save between 3 percent and 8 percent over the life of the project, Ms Parata said.

Labour Party finance spokesman Grant Robertson said putting schools into private ownership undermined the value schools have in their community.

There was no transparency from the government in how they came up with the calculations, he said.

"They've said they think they're going to save millions of dollars over 25 years as a result of these projects but the projects haven't even been tended or let yet."

"There's a lot more to find out about whether or not these projects actually save money."

Expressions of interest will be issued in March for three new primary schools in Auckland, one in Hamilton and the relocation and co-location of Shirley Boys' and Avonside Girls' high schools in Christchurch.

The successful bidder is expected to be announced in early 2017.

In May, the government signed a $298 million contract to build and maintain four schools through a public-private partnership in Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown.

The consortium that won the contract includes Hawkins Group, ASC Architects, and a facilities management company, Programmed.