13 Aug 2014

Nats 'dressing up' core business - Opposition

7:12 am on 13 August 2014

The National Party has been accused of dressing up core government business as an election policy.

Nine-year-olds use an iPad in the classroom.

The Government has pledged $350 million for education in Auckland. Photo: PHOTO NZ

Opposition parties say the $350 million for schools and classrooms in Auckland shows National has no new ideas.

But National said it was getting ahead of expected growth in the country's largest city.

Nine new schools and about 130 new classrooms would be built in the Auckland region over the next four years under National's plan.

The $350 million for the projects would come from the proceeds of the partial sale of state assets, known as the Future Investment Fund.

Four of the new schools are likely to be in the northern part of Auckland, three in South Auckland, and two in the West.

Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye said the current school network would come under pressure as the population grew.

She said the Government would also address growth in population around other parts of the country.

Dressed up

Labour leader David Cunliffe said the investment was not new and it was business as usual.

"These are probably long foreseen routine investments that are being dressed up for an election campaign and people can see it for what it is - it's a good thing to do but it's not news."

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said the National Party had no new ideas. She said it was core Government business wrapped up as National Party policy.

Principals' Federation president Philip Harding said the Government needed to act now to be ready for the significant growth that Auckland faced.

He said the Government had identified the role growth that Auckland would experience in the next year or two and had announced it just before the election - but actually it was just a response to demographics.

National said it would also commit to addressing specific redevelopment needs at existing Auckland schools.

The major redevelopments at Western Springs College in Western Springs, Southern Cross Campus in Māngere East, and Sherwood Primary in Browns Bay will be first cabs off the rank if it National is returned to Government.