Govt pushes for public private partnership to meet school bill

Aranui High School in Christchurch is due to be replaced by a new school.
Aranui High School in Christchurch is due to be replaced by a new school.

Part of the bill for building four new schools could be met by a , the Government said today.

An invitation for Expressions of Interest will be issued for the design, construction, financing, and maintenance of Aranui Community School and Rolleston Secondary School in greater Christchurch, Wakatipu Secondary School's new site in Queenstown and a new school in Auckland yet to be confirmed.

"If the expression of interest is successful and the PPP (public private partnership) goes ahead the Ministry of Education estimates the cost of construction and maintenance for the project will be more than $200 million," Education Minister Hekia Parata said.

The use of a PPP could deliver savings of 2 to 8 per cent over traditional procurement by the ministry, she said.

The schools would be built regardless of whether a PPP deal could be agreed, Ms Parata said.

Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye said the green light from Cabinet for the project followed the ministry's first PPP contract, signed in April 2012, with Learning Infrastructure Partners for the development, financing, construction and maintenance of Hobsonville Point primary and secondary schools.

Today's announcement came after an American firm expressed interest in setting up a charter school in New Zealand.

Opponents of such schools say overseas organisations should not be publicly funded to run schools here - potentially for profit.

- APNZ

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