Cannons Creek School principal Ruth O'Neill says she's disappointed the Government did not scrap voluntary school donations in last week's Budget.

Her school, north of Wellington, is decile 1A, the poorest decile. It doesn't ask parents for school donations because it knows many can't afford them.

The $150 per pupil payment Labour promised would replace the school donation system would have given O'Neill an extra $25,500 a year for activities and resources for her 170 pupils.

"I've been the principal here for 16 years. We've never charged school fees, ever. For us it would have been a plus. It would have come in very handy, we could have gone to all sorts of places."


Cannons Creek School relies on the private sector and grants to make up the shortfall between the cost of providing an education and what parents can afford.

"My office manager does a lot of requests for grants and things like that for things like swimming," O'Neill said.

Last October Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the move to scrap school donations would be in the Government's first Budget. In February he said the issue was "Budget sensitive" so couldn't discuss it.

The policy, with an estimated cost of $70 million a year, was not part of the Government's education funding in the Budget.

O'Neill said it was disappointing Labour didn't follow through on its education manifesto promise announced last July.

Today in Parliament, in response to questions from Opposition education spokeswoman Nikki Kaye, Hipkins said the policy was considered but "Budget 2018 had to accommodate the largest cost pressures due to population growth in several decades.

"That does not mean that we are not going to deliver on those commitments."

Hipkins said it would be considered in subsequent Budgets.


Kaye told the Herald the Government had to be clear with parents about if and when school donations would be scrapped.

"Have they scrapped their donation policy, does it no longer exist, or if they are going to end donations, when will this happen?"