Children bear the brunt of the budget

Chris Hipkins  

Future generations are the ones bearing the brunt of National’s failure to provide education services the funding they need to make ends meet.

For nine years in a row, the Government has told our schools, early childhood services and tertiary education providers to do more with less. The whole education system is creaking under the strain and it is young New Zealanders who suffer.

National’s election year Budget will cost parents and their children a lot more than National’s cynical bribe is worth.

Spiralling costs 

The cost of running a school, just like a household, is growing and for the second year running National has failed to give schools what they need, forcing schools to push more onto parents.

This year, schools needed an additional $140 million over four years just to keep up with their bills and make up for last year’s shortfall. National has given them $60 million, meaning schools are short around $80 million.

Meanwhile, hundreds of schools across the country are overcrowded and hundreds more are at risk of overcrowding.

In Auckland alone, the Education Ministry has warned of critical pressures and to expect 107,000 additional students in the city by 2040.

“Class sizes are destined to rise across the country but especially in Auckland as National fails to deliver on its promise to get ahead of demand for more schools.

Too little, too late

“National’s latest spend is too little too late and they can’t be trusted to deliver. In 2014, they promised $350 million for Auckland schools over four years; three years on and they spent only $107 million.

Yesterday (May 25), Education Minister Nikki Kaye just re-announced the money that they have so far failed to spend.

The freeze on early childhood education subsidies started by National in 2010 will continue another year and once again parents will have to fork out more.

The early childhood funding freeze has meant that the real value of government funding for each child participating in ECE has fallen by $110 per year between 2009 and 2015. The impact of this has been that under National, the cost of early childhood education for parents has risen by 25%.

Contempt for new generation

National’s contempt for future generations is on display for all to see in this year’s Budget.

It is time for a fresh approach.

A Labour-led government will make education a priority.

We will ensure that our schools, early childhood services, and tertiary education providers get the funding they need to keep up with increasing costs and meet the needs of an increasing population.

Chris Hipkins is an elected Member of Parliament from Rimutaka and Labour Party’s Spokesman for Education.

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