National promises nine new schools for Auckland

National will build nine new schools in Auckland if re-elected, associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye announced today.

The schools would be built as part of a $350 million investment into Auckland education infrastructure over the next four years, Ms Kaye said.

The announcement was made during a visit to Ponsonby Primary School with Prime Minister John Key this afternoon.

"We have recently invested in new schools in areas like Hamilton and Queenstown, and Auckland is an obvious candidate for significant new investment," she said.

The new schools would be spread across the Auckland region, with four likely in the northern region, three in South Auckland, and two in West Auckland.

An additional 130 classrooms would also be built at existing school sites across the Auckland region to deal with forecast roll growth, Ms Kaye said. A further eight schools would be renovated.

"We will deal with major redevelopments at Western Springs College in Western Springs, Southern Cross Campus (second stage) in Mangere East, and Sherwood Primary in Browns Bay as first cabs off the rank if we are returned to Government at the election.

"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 said.

"New Zealand is growing strongly and the school network will come under pressure in different parts of the country as the population grows.

"We want to get ahead of the demand by expanding and redeveloping schools for students before serious capacity issues arise."

The projects would need to go through the appropriate process before they were approved and built, she said.

Funding would come from a mixture of the Future Investment Fund -- which contains the proceeds from asset sales, and existing baselines including possible public/private partnerships, Ms Kaye said.

"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 said.

The Government had already committed $1 billion to build more schools and classrooms in the greater Christchurch region over the next 10 years, she said.

"We will look to invest in schools around the country over the next four years through the ongoing Budget process."

- By Brendan Manning of APNZ

Investment

How about some of that asset sales money comes to Dunedin to pay for our hospital instead of debt funding it?