30 Aug 2017

Know your policy: Education

From Election17 - Policy Comparisons, 8:55 am on 30 August 2017

Digital learning? An expanded curriculum? Changes to the student loan scheme? Find out what the parties plan to do about education - from early childhood to adult learning.

Sixty percent of children go to a school like South Wellington Intermediate

Photo: RNZ / John Gerritsen


  • Invest $45 million to revamp National Standards so children, parents and teachers can track their progress throughout the year in particular learning areas
  • Invest $160 million over four years to allow primary school students to learn a second language from a list of 10 'priority languages'
  • Lift achievement in schools though a $359 million initiative to improve teaching quality and school leadership.
  • Invest in building new schools and classrooms
  • $126 million over four years to improve student achievement in maths at primary school
  • Establish digital internships and digital academies for year 12 and 13 students
  • Provide more in-class support to special-needs students and more teacher-aide hours
  • Including digital learning and computer coding as part of the school curriculum


  • Invest an extra $4bn into the education portfolio over four years
  • Reinstate extra funding for early chidlhood centres that employ 100 percent qualified and registered teachers
  • Require all early childhood centres to employ at least 80 percent qualified teachers by the end of the first term in government
  • Ensure schooling is genuinely free by offering an extra $150 per student to state and state-integrated schools that don't ask parents for donations 
  • Establish a comprehensive plan to ensure students have access to mobile digital devices
  • Abolish National Standards
  • Rebuild out-dated and worn-out school buildings by 2030
  • Children sitting at tables with laptops

    Children learning to get under the boot of technology with Mindlab Photo: Supplied

  • Progressively introduce three years of free post-school education, starting with one year from July 2018
  • Increase student allowance payments by $50 a week
  • Reinstate funding for programmes - like night classes - that support adult learners 
  • Create a School Leavers' Toolkit to equip school leavers with vital life skills, including driver training
  • Restore post-graduate students' eligibility for the student allowance, and restore eligibility for loans and allowances beyond seven years to students enrolled in long courses such as medicine

Green Party

  • Hold a commission of inquiry into the New Zealand education system
  • Remove National Standards
  • Ensure state schools are fully funded so they are not dependent upon fees, private donations or fundraising
  • Reduce class sizes and improve teacher-child ratios in early childhood services
  • Centrally fund all teacher and key support staff salaries and support pay parity for early childhood, primary and secondary educators
  • Support the continued improvement of the NCEA
  • Set standards and guidelines for healthy food provided in schools
  • Incorporate ecological sustainability into the core curriculum at all levels.
  • Introduce universal teaching of Te Reo Māori in all public schools

New Zealand First

  • Develop a collaborative 30-year strategic plan for New Zealand education
  • End public funding for charter schools
  • Abolish National Standards in their current form and work with the sector on new assessment measures
  • Re-establish professional learning and development support for the quality delivery of the New Zealand curriculum
  • Increase support for programmes in the early years that involve parents directly in the education of their children
  • Urgently and immediately review the funding model for kindergartens
  • Make sure there is greater flexibility concerning successful pathways and positive outcomes for students after NCEA Level 1


  • Open more partnership schools and allow state and integrated schools to voluntarily apply for partnership school status
  • Increase the funding of independent schools by removing the funding cap and lifting the the per-student funding they receive to 50 percent of state school student funding

Māori Party

Maori Language Week

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

  • Make te reo Māori, Māori history and culture core curriculum subjects in all schools up to year 10
  • Provide all children with free early childhood, primary and secondary education
  • Increase the accommodation supplement by half for all tertiary students
  • Introduce a universal student allowance with cost of living adjustment to guarantee a livable income during study, for all tertiary students, including post-graduate students
  • Write off the living cost component of all student loans
  • Increase the numbers of tamariki attending kōhanga reo
  • Reduce class sizes in primary schools
  • Provide all children with free after-school care and holiday programmes
  • Introduce mental health counsellors in all high schools
  • Provide free public transport to primary, secondary and tertiary students
  • Increase overall funding for Māori medium education
  • Repeal the Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Act 2011
  • Remove the cap on the number of allowable wānanga
  • Develop a four-year zero-fee ‘First in Whānau’ scholarship for bachelor-level study     
  • Double the existing Māori and Pacific trade training and cadetships placements per annum for the next five years
  • Partner with iwi and employers to provide more scholarship and internship opportunities for whānau and to provide better connections for students to their tribal identity, culture and language
  • Reduce the repayment levels on a student loans

United Future

No caption

Photo: 123rf.com

  • Remove tuition fees for tertiary education in New Zealand
  • Abolish the student allowance and instead align the maximum living costs loan entitlement with the average rental price in the area a student is enrolled in
  • Establish an expected voluntary student loan repayment threshold for graduated students in work, with interest being added to the year if the threshold isn't met
  • Introduce compulsory civics education from years 1-13, including information about elections, and lower the voting age to 16
  • Review role of student representatives on school board of trustees to ensure meaningful participation


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