New Zealand principals will make a plea to Education
Minister Hekia Parata this week for schools to be exempted from
the proposed cost recovery of police vetting.
New Zealand Police announced late last year they would
consider charging for some services, such as vetting, which
have historically been free.
A consultation paper has been released asking for feedback on
charging for vetting services, on which the public has until
March 5 to make a submission. A recommendation will then go
to the Government.
Otago Secondary Principals' Association president Brent
Russell said there were increasing concerns about the
financial implications of the proposal for school budgets.
He said schools were required to vet every employee that was
not a trained teacher, including contractors, international
homestay families or anyone who provided extracurricular
activity with pupils on a regular basis - such as coaches and
cultural group leaders.
''Over the course of a year, their would be a significant
number of vets applied for.''
With vetting costing between $5 and $7 per application, Mr
Russell said it was not going to ''break the bank'', but
believed any additional money spent on vetting was money that
should be spent on pupils or resources.
''It would be an added cost we could do without.''
Some principals believe it would be a considerable drain on
schools' with already stretched operational grants.
It is an issue concerning many principals around the country,
so the Secondary Principals' Association of New Zealand
(SPANZ) plans to discuss the issue with Education Minister
SPANZ president Patrick Walsh said police vetting was
''clearly a public good'', which sat outside any educational
''It should therefore be paid directly by the Government,
As an alternative, he said operational grants should be
increased to match the cost, although he conceded it would be
an unnecessary administrative burden.
''This proposal is yet another example of the Government
increasing compliance or passing on an extra cost to schools
without any additional increase in our operational grant.''
While some exemptions would be considered, police proposed a
fee of $5-$7 per vetting request for a standard vetting
request, and an estimated $10-$14 for an urgent request.
Of a projected 435,000 vetting requests per annum, police
said an estimated 350,000 could be charged.