Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye has announced that the National-led Government will invest at least $350 million over the next four years to build new schools and classrooms in the rapidly growing Auckland region.
Ms Kaye made the announcement during a visit to Ponsonby Primary School with Prime Minister John Key.
“New Zealand is growing strongly and the school network will come under pressure in different parts of the country as the population grows,” Ms Kaye says.
“We have recently invested in new schools in areas like Hamilton and Queenstown, and Auckland is an obvious candidate for significant new investment.”
Forecasts show work will need to begin on as many as nine schools and at least 130 new classrooms in the Auckland region over the next four years.
“We want to get ahead of the demand by expanding and redeveloping schools for students before serious capacity issues arise,” Ms Kaye says.
“That’s why today we are announcing our plan to invest at least $350 million over the next four years to get on with addressing the roll growth pressures that are coming to Auckland.”
The new schools will be spread across different parts of Auckland, with four likely in the northern part of the region, three in South Auckland, and two in West Auckland.
The additional classrooms that will be built to deal with forecast roll growth will go onto existing school sites across the entire Auckland region.
“All of these projects will need to go through the appropriate process before they are finally approved and built, but we are determined to get on with the task of making sure Auckland’s school network is ready for population growth,” Ms Kaye says.
“In addition to the money we are committing to new schools and classrooms, we can also announce today our plan to quickly address specific redevelopment needs at existing Auckland schools.
“Up to eight schools in Auckland are going to require major redevelopments or reconstructions in coming years.
“We will deal with major redevelopments at Western Springs College in Western Springs, Southern Cross Campus (second stage) in Māngere East, and Sherwood Primary in Browns Bay as first cabs off the rank if we are returned to Government at the election.
“We have identified these three at the outset due to their locations in high- growth areas, the need to provide certainty to their school communities, and because of the complexities facing each project.
“We will also work to confirm within three months of the election the other five major redevelopments that we expect to be required in Auckland.”
Ms Kaye says the funding for classrooms, schools and redevelopments will come from a mixture of the Future Investment Fund, which contains the proceeds of the Mixed Ownership Model programme, and existing baselines, including possible public/private partnerships already used successfully in Auckland.
“We know that other parts of New Zealand are also facing roll growth pressures and we are well prepared to deal with those too,” Ms Kaye says.
“Today’s focus on Auckland reflects the fact that the city is very much at the front end of the forecast growth.”