5 Dec 2013

School dismisses prefabs and portaloos claim

8:43 pm on 5 December 2013

A charter school being set up in Northland says New Zealand First's claims in Parliament that it has run out of money and will be using portaloos for toilets are untrue.

Deputy leader Tracey Martin made the revelation during Question Time on Thursday afternoon.

Ms Martin asked Education Minister Hekia Parata whether she knew the school being set up by Nga Parirau Matauranga Trust had spent its more than $1.6 million from the Government on 81 hectares of farmland and now didn't have enough money to build the school.

She told the House the school is considering setting up in portacoms and portaloos, and asked Ms Parata if she considered this a modern learning environment and if the minister was able to recover the money if the school did not go ahead.

Ms Parata was not able to answer any of the questions, telling Parliament she would have to check with her ministry.

Natasha Sadler, the school's curriculum director, told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Thursday that the establishment funding of $1.4 million has been used to buy property, hire teachers and get the curriculum ready for when the school opens in February next year.

Ms Sadler said the toilets are brand new, permanent ablution blocks that meet all building code requirements and New Zealand First needs to talk to the people involved before making allegations.

Govt paying $6.3m to set up schools

The Government will pay $6.3 million in set-up costs for the five charter schools due to open in 2014.

The publicly-funded private schools' will also get nearly $7.5 million to cover their running costs next year.

The details are in the schools' contracts, which have been published under the Official Information Act.

They show most of the schools, which the Government is calling partnership schools, will get more than a $1 million in establishment payments.

The biggest payment will be 1.88 million for He Puna Marama Trust, followed by the Vanguard Military School in Albany, which will get $1.6 million.

The Rise Up Trust will get the smallest establishment payment of $390,000 for its primary school in South Auckland.