Labour's $4b education boost

Labour is hoping a big spend in the education sector will entice voters. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

Labour has released details of its full education policy, which will bring a smile to the face of teachers and unions but contains little that has not already been seen before.

A Labour-led government will spend an extra $4 billion in four years on restoring an education system they claim is run-down.

Earlier this week voters were given a clear choice between universal tax cuts from National or social spending from Labour.

The latter revealed their plan to spend an extra $17b by scrapping the aforementioned tax cuts the Government has baited voters with.

Labour’s Education spokesman Chris Hipkins revealed on Friday afternoon that almost a quarter of that spending would go to the sector.

Many of the main initiatives it will be spent on have already been announced, or were seen during previous elections.

Introducing three years of free post-school education to New Zealanders who have not studied before was first mentioned in January last year.

Boosting funding for Early Childhood Education centres that employ 100 percent qualified teachers has also already been announced, as has a goal to employ at least 80 percent qualified teachers by the end of Labour’s first term.

The “pre-announcement” drip-fed out Thursday night for the morning media cycle of scrapping school donations in exchange for $150 per student from the Government is also a hangover from 2014 where $100 was offered.

Despite not being the most fresh policy announcement it is one that will please one of Labour’s power bases – the teacher’s unions and their members.

It will see $1.8b spent on more teachers in a time of shortages in many parts of the country, as well as better professional development and more resources.

Struggling parents will also be tempted by a pledge to ensure all students have access to mobile digital devices in the classroom, plus a plan to rebuild out-dated and worn out school buildings by 2030.

“The manifesto includes policies to address many other challenges facing the education sector and we expect to start work implementing them the day after we’re elected,” Hipkins said.

“Labour’s fresh approach to education is all about increasing quality, treating staff and students with respect and providing learning institutions with the best tools required to enable future generations of Kiwi kids to thrive and reach their potential.”

Newsroom Pro will have more analysis and reaction later today.