National Party's Education spokesperson, Hon Nikki Kaye says the Ministry of Education have "dragged their heels" in their dealings with the property project for Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Manurewa, who currently hold their science classes outside on "rubbish bins".
In a Te Ao report on this year's Budget announcement, $286.8 million was allocated by the government to build new schools and classrooms across Aotearoa.
TKKM o Manurewa is in dire need of a revamp and were promised $24mil by the previous government over 18 months ago.
MP Kaye says, "The Ministry needs to get on with it, it's a very important project. You've got real issues for the kura and so from our perspective, they've dragged their heels."
The school was moved to the Manurewa Marae complex "temporarily" in 2002. 17 years later, the school consists of only two classrooms for their 30 students.
Minister of Education Chris Hipkins told Te Ao Māori News "It wasn’t until early in 2019 that they got consent for the project on the Browns Road site. The inclusion of Kura in the proposed development needed an amendment to the designation to make it fit for purpose."
The Ministry says they consulted with Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Manurewa and wharekura in an effort to establish a new outlook on education. The plan is to also include a kohanga reo and tertiary/whare wānanga to its new facilities.
Principal Maahia Nathan was 'surprised' that Te Ao Māori News told the school board the news of their move. Hon. Hipkins says the initial announcement by MP Kaye in 2017 didn't have the appropriate consents for the co-location move.
For now, students continue doing their practical science lessons outdoors on their 'Para Kore' rubbish bins. Mr Nathan says if it rains his students can't do their practicums.
MP Kaye"I'm really concerned around the way they've been treated. They've been waiting since National's original announcement for $24mil over 18 months. It looks like the Ministry's been doing very little. My other concern is it shouldn't take the media to raise these issues to have progress on school's property project," Kaye says.
"In this Budget, we can see there's over $170 million of underspend and it's a classic case of incompetence by the Ministry and the Govt," says Kaye.
The Ministry is now working on a project brief with the School Principals and Boards of Trustees. Once the project brief is completed and agreed, work on the design will begin.
The expected time for the new school is 2021.