Verve Article - April 2017
National investing in education
With more than 765,000 Kiwi kids well into the first term, it’s important parents and caregivers know how much this Government is prioritising their success.
A high-quality education is one of the most important investments we can make as a government and as a community, to ensure our young people have the best possible start to their lives. In 2017, this investment will be at $11 billion (without counting tertiary education), the highest ever.
Public schools in this part of Auckland, or indeed anywhere in Auckland, are undergoing large scale investment. Locally, we’ve seen state of the art new classrooms built at Mt Eden Normal School, Auckland Normal, Auckland Normal Intermediate and Parnell District School, fully equipped with ultra-fast broadband and modern equipment. More recently I think of the work at Remuera School for new classrooms and the $8.7 million project at Newmarket School. The list continues for many other schools, often with government funds supported by generous contributions from the local community.
Since 2008/09, student numbers have increased by 3.6 per cent, but this has been met and exceeded under the National-led Government with education funding increased by 35 per cent. This, in the context of tight government spending and a return to a budget surplus.
The facts are these: no previous Government has made bigger investments in educating Kiwi kids and no other OECD country spends a higher proportion of its public spending on education than New Zealand does.
However, to get the best result possible, schools not only require the right funding but also the right infrastructure. Over $5 billion has been invested since 2008/09, resulting in around 50 new schools or school expansions, over 30 major redevelopments and hundreds of additional classrooms. These projects are allowing schools across the country to accommodate roll growth and to make sure kids are learning with updated and modern resources in a warm and safe environment.
Locally, we are very fortunate to have school board members and PTA members who so generously give their time and money to help guide that investment and demand the best from their principals and teachers. I want to take the opportunity, once again, to thank them for their efforts.
From the Governments perspective, a return on the $11 billion investment means young people are succeeding and New Zealand is benefitting from a new generation of high-achieving young kiwis.