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Four new schools are going to be built and maintained by public-private partnerships - 5 March 2014

5 March 2014


The government has announced four new schools will be built and maintained by public-private partnerships and it's being accused of selling the system.

Education Minister Hekia Parata says two schools in Christchurch, one in Queenstown and one in Auckland will be built by PPPs.

They'll cost more than $200 million in total and Ms Parata says PPPs deliver a saving of two to eight per cent over the usual construction contracts.

"A big benefit of a PPP is that professional facilities managers take care of school property, freeing up school staff time for teaching and learning," Ms Parata said.

"The government has made it clear we are open to greater use of private sector expertise where it makes sense."

The Greens say the government has a secret agenda to privatise public education.

"Christchurch kids have suffered enough... now the minister is selling off their schools," said education spokeswoman Catherine Delahunty.

"However you set up a PPP, the public ends up funding the project while the private partner creams profit off the top."

Ms Delahunty says the government's plan raises questions about whether communities will be able to use school premises out of hours without paying a fee.

The way the PPPs work is a private partner is responsible for designing, building, financing and maintaining the school property under a 25-year contract.

The Ministry of Education pays the private partner quarterly, with the payment reduced if school facilities don't meet standards specified in the contract.

The government retains ownership of the land and buildings throughout the life of the contract.


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