Kids wear the Budget brunt

Future generations are the ones bearing the brunt of the National government’s failure to provide education services the funding they need to make ends meet, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“For nine years in a row the government have 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’s young New Zealanders who will suffer.

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

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

“This year schools needed to see an additional $140m over four years just to keep pay their bills and make up last year’s shortfall. National has given them $60m, meaning schools are short almost $80m.

“Meanwhile, hundreds of schools across the country are overcrowded and hundreds more at risk of overcrowding. In Auckland alone, the Ministry of Education 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 too as National fails to deliver on its promise to get ahead of demand for more schools

“National’s latest investment is too little too late and they can’t be trusted to deliver. In 2014 they promised $350m for Auckland schools over four years; three years on and they’ve only spent $107m. Yesterday Nikki Kaye has just re-announced the money they’ve 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%.

“Tertiary students struggling to cope with increasing accommodation, study, and living costs get next to no help in this year’s Budget. Only the minority who receive the accommodation supplement get anything, while those who rely on part-time work and borrowing to pay for their studies get nothing.

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

“It’s 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.

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