Labour promises donation-free education for all New Zealanders

Andrew Little

Wellington, July 21, 2017

Labour will end the so-called voluntary school donations for a majority of parents across the country under its $4 billion plan to revitalise the education sector.

Labour has always been committed to a world-class free education system that’s accessible to everyone and today we’re reaffirming that commitment.

That is why we will end the so-called voluntary school donations for every school that takes up our scheme. Under National, school donations have jumped by 50% and they continue to rise due to National’s freeze on schools operational funding last year.

Major beneficiaries

Our policy delivers an extra $150 per student to every school that agrees to stop asking parents for a donation. We expect the parents of more than 450,000 students will no longer be asked to pay a donation, bringing the total cost of the policy to an estimated $70 million per annum.

Schools will still be able to request parents pay for extra-curricular activities, such as school camps, but those that take up the offer will not be able to ask for a general donation to help fund school operations.

$4 billion investment

“Under our Education Manifesto, Labour will invest an extra $4 billion in education over the next four years to rapidly lift the quality of our education system and reduce pressure on early childhood centres, schools, tertiary institutions and parents.

This will be the long awaited shot in the arm much of the sector has been waiting for. National has chosen nine years of cost-cutting measures over quality, creating burnt-out teachers, a narrow curriculum and falling tertiary education participation.

Our commitment includes $1.7 billion over four years that will go towards boosting funding levels across critical areas and deliver more teachers, better professional development and more learning resources for our kids.

Labour’s Education Manifesto aims to drive a world-class education system that will be the envy of the world. It’s what we can deliver by not dishing out tax cuts to the wealthiest New Zealanders.

We need more qualified early childhood teachers, school teachers who are not swimming in paper work and tertiary institutions that drive excellence in teaching and research.

Labour is the only party offering to properly invest in our education sector and do it in a way that will drive quality while reducing financial pressure on parents and students.

It is a fresh approach that will provide students with the platform they deserve to help them reach their potential.

Andrew Little is Leader of the Labour Party of New Zealand. He launched his Party’s Education Manifesto today with Labour MP and Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins.

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