Last week there were lots of eyebrows raised at Green Party co-leader James Shaw's announcement to give $11.7 million of government funding to a private school, or $234,000 per student.
Minister of Education Chris Hipkins left his coalition bro to fend for himself, saying: "It's not necessarily a project I would have prioritised. That was something the Green Party advocated quite strongly for."
Unsurprisingly, the private school that was lavished with $11.7 million of government funding is called Green School.
Yes, Green School.
So, this $11.7m that was taken from the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund has been used to benefit a private business that shares the same ideological beliefs as the Green Party.
Hmm … got any 'Green' business ideas?
The Green School opened in February and has around 50 students.
The $11.7m of government funding is being used to expand the school's capacity from 120 to 250 students.
More students equals more profits.
The Green School charges up to $24,000 a year for local students and up to $43,000 a year for international students.
It's great to see the Greenies are 100 per cent true to their word about helping those kids in ... uh … poverty?
I wonder if the Green School will get the 'free lunches in schools' programme too.
And while they're at it, make sure the Green School teachers can drink some taxpayer-funded champagne.
Private schools are private businesses.
I don't have any issues with private schools – they add diversity to the education sector.
What I do have a problem with is corporate welfare, which is exactly what this is.
Funnily enough, the Green Party's own education policy says that it is against "public funding for private schools" – wanting it phased out – and that it "does not support charter schools".
If there's one thing the coalition Government is good at, it's ensuring that written words on paper can have the opposite meaning.
Hold your horses, Shaw said that the purpose of giving $11.7m to the Green School was to create jobs by injecting money into the economy through infrastructure and construction.
Apparently, it wasn't about hooking up his Green buddies in business.
Well, he could have achieved the same result by putting $11.7m into existing public schools in the same community.
According to those schools, the same number of jobs would have been created with a cash injection of $11.7m.
Settle down public schools.
Didn't you know that Covid-19 means we all have to make sacrifices?
Get on board with the 'team of five million' and don't ask questions.
- Steve Elers is as an academic at a university in Palmerston North and writes a weekly column on social and cultural issues. His views are his own and do not represent the unnamed university. He can be contacted via his website: www.SteveElers.com