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Key announces new schools – again

Written By: - Date published: 12:45 pm, April 17th, 2015 - 35 comments
Categories: john key, making shit up, national, paula bennett, Politics, same old national, slippery, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags:

National has this habit of announcing and then reannouncing new policies and capital projects.  Why bask in the limelight once only when you can do so again and again?

Paula Bennett is a master at this behaviour.  Key has previous form for it too.

In Key’s recent pre budget speech he said this:

Today I can confirm that the Budget next month will provide another $244 million over the next four years to meet growing school rolls and to improve the quality of learning environments.

Four new state schools will be built and these are:

–  Rototuna Senior High School in Hamilton.

–  A primary school in Rolleston, near Christchurch.

–  Two primary schools in Auckland – one at Kumeu and the other at Scott Point.

But what is this?  Is Rolleston school already being built?

Concrete foundations are in place for the new West Rolleston Primary School, with the last of the pours taking place on Saturday.  The Ministry of Education head of education infrastructure, Kim Shannon, says the school, which is due to open in February 2016, will initially cater for 450 students.

[Source 15 Apr 2015 Central Canterbury News digital paper page 5]

It was very trusting of the Ministry to start construction of this school before budget had been confirmed, presuming this was the case.

And the Rototuna Senior High School looks like it was already in the pipeline.  From a Waikato Times editorial [not online yet]:

Actually, it was one of two new state schools that had previously been announced. Preliminary design plans for the new junior and senior high schools were signed off by the school’s establishment board and put out for tender in August last year. The first sod was turned on the junior section of the school early in February. Associate Education Minister Nikki Key [hehe] was among the 90 people who attended the ceremony. Announcing and reannouncing the spending of millions of dollars on schools is one thing. Delivering is another.

 Local MP David Bennett certainly thought it was a done deal.  He announced this particular school back in May 2014, just in time for the last election.  Imagine the embarrassment if the Government had failed to include funding for the school in this year’s budget.

Talk about tricky …

35 comments on “Key announces new schools – again ”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with this, especially if these schools didn’t get significant publicity at the time they were first signed-off on and announced.

    Of course, it would be better if Key had said “this includes two schools that construction has already started on”, but really how is adding that piece of information useful to the message he’s giving? The message is that this government is investing in new schools. Does it matter if one of them started being built 3 months ago?

    What is far worse is when National were announcing Labour’s previous spending ideas, as if they were National’s and in response to the GFC, when they weren’t at all.

    • Atiawa 1.1

      West Rolleston was probably going to be a road. Possibly a bridge.
      But seriously it sounds like an act of desperation to make the same announcement twice for the same spend. Just goes to show how gullible he thinks we all are.

    • mickysavage 1.2

      What about the damage to the English language when the Government confirms that the schools are going to be built? He may as well confirm that MPs salaries are going to be paid.

      One aspect I did not touch on is that the funding for these schools is coming from the Fast Future fund. It should be coming out of the general consolidated fund. Building schools is business as usual or it should be.

    • The building timetable isn’t the problem. The problem is saying “look, new schools!” as though they’re all previously-unheard-of projects. Even if they were already under construction, it would be fine as long as they were actually new projects.

      Most people aren’t going through the government’s press releases with a fine-tooth comb. So if they hear David Bennett say “a new school for Hamilton!” in May 2014 and then John Key say “four new schools!” in April 2015 it’s only natural to assume they’re talking about four additional new schools on top of the ones already announced.

      This is a tried and true National Party strategy: just keep re-announcing the same policy or project at roughly annual intervals. Paula Bennett’s been particularly bad for it.

      • Lanthanide 1.3.1

        Like I said, does it make any material difference to the message, if Key had said “$244M in spending on schools, including these 2 schools that are already underway”?

        $244M is still being spent. Schools are still being built.

        • mickysavage

          But at least of the money must have been appropriated. Actually it is almost impossible for all of the money to not have been appropriated. How else could they pour the foundations?

          • Nic the+NZer

            “But at least of the money must have been appropriated.”

            No, that’s not the way that budget spending works. By convention the government will typically borrow back some of their previous spending just before they need that ‘cash’ for current spending. Its a simple borrow and spend back operation which purportedly keeps the governments cash accounts in positive figures. They certainly don’t have all of that sum presently ‘in the bank’ however, the fact that its in the budget just means that they are intending to spend that much and that much spending will either be collected in tax, or borrowed as its spent adding to the deficit.

            If they wanted to however they could change the reserve bank act to allow the government to spend (as they budgeted) by notionally running their government account into overdraft. That is they can emit additional money as they spend.

            • mickysavage

              Hi my statement is missing the word “some” which makes it difficult to interpret …

              If they are pouring the concrete for the foundations I would presume there was an existing appropriation for construction of the new school in Mined’s budget?

              • Nic the NZer

                Yes, they almost certainly already paid some of the funds by that stage of construction. But I think its important to point out that the actual sum of budgeted spending (and of course tax collection) is highly fluid. The resulting deficit (or surplus) at the end of next year, or several years hence can at best be forecast (frequently far from accurately). When looking at the budget we should look at what the government is spending on, and not worry about how they are going to ‘pay for it’ (which they always can).

                • mickysavage

                  I agree it is fluid but I expect there is a contract and a price and allocated funds somewhere. Would Mined authorise the pouring of the concrete and not have the money to finish it off?

                  • Nic the+NZer

                    Mined would not authorise the pouring of the concrete without it being in the budget, but that’s the only place the funds need to be allocated.

        • But he didn’t say “$244M in spending on schools”, he said “another $244 million” along with “Four new state schools will be built”.

          The simplest interpretation of his words is that this is additional spending. You can decide for yourself whether you think it was sloppy copyediting or deliberately spinning a “new” investment in education out of already-announced projects. I judge the government on their record of doing exactly that.

          • Lanthanide

            They are new schools. Just the start date is in the past, not the future. But they aren’t yet built, so they are ‘new’ schools.

            Now, the “another” part is somewhat misleading; and I see it is in the original post.

            Still, I doubt any of the people you suggested heard David Bennet say “a new school for Hamilton” would come to any particularly different conclusion if Key had simply said “$244M for new schools, including 2 schools whose construction are already underway”. Details like that simply don’t make an impression on the vast bulk of the public, because they aren’t paying attention and/or don’t care.

            • Stephanie Rodgers

              if Key had simply said

              But that’s not what he said, Lanthanide. You can split as many hairs as you like with hypothetical situations to make Key’s statement not patently misleading. But what he actually said is misleading, and given his government’s form, deliberately so.

              • Lanthanide

                And yet I, someone who doesn’t support this government, simply don’t find this particularly galling or even worthy of comment.

                Sure, it is misleading on many levels (not all, as I’ve outlined) and others here find it annoying, but to me it really is just a shrug and carry on moment.

                • simply don’t find this particularly galling or even worthy of comment.

                  Good for you, I guess? Someone else did find it worthy of comment, and you found that worthy of multiple “but if he’d said it differently it would be different” comments.

                  Unless you’re really just trying to badger people into agreeing with you, I’m not sure what the point is.

                  • Lanthanide

                    Why does anyone say anything on the internet?

                    Aren’t I entitled to post my opinion that this topic isn’t important?

    • tracey 1.4

      it is bad if they are telling people all the budgetted money for those schools is in this new figure cos it makes it seem they are doing more than they are.

      • Lanthanide 1.4.1

        But all of the budgeted money for those schools is in this new figure. This $244M is the total cost of those 4 schools.

        • tracey

          but some of the schools have been started so the figure is lower. it is an untruth.

  2. Merlene Chambers 2

    “John Key making shit up”

  3. fisiani 3

    John Key spreading the good news

  4. Greg 4

    I think you men reannouncing, not renouncing. Quite different meanings. [damn autocorrect. Fixed – MS]

  5. BruceTheMoose 5

    Key and his favorite henchman, Brownlee, pull the same stunt in Christchurch time and time again. Every election, or when the news starts getting really bad in regards to the city’s rebuild progress, Key and his Dumb Chump start trumpeting the same old lines about the central city plan. It’s conference center this, stadium that, arts precinct here, justice precinct there. But three years after the initial big announcement and fanfare of Key’s central city plan was first revealed, there is absolutely bugger all to show for it. They are still buying land for their projects and changing their minds on the details. Either that, or continually pushing out the dates for even starting the bloody things. The next election will turn up again and we well still be getting the same rehashed BS lines and promises from these frauds

    • b waghorn 5.1

      The slow rate of progress down there makes me wonder if the nats Havn’t raided the funds for the rebuild to cover there lack of financial ability.

  6. McFlock 6

    I guess that tories think reannouncing the same thing 15 times is the same as announcing 16 good ideas.

  7. repateet 7

    Key keeps saying things like “People aren’t stupid,” and keeps treating us like we’re stupid. Maybe in the big, big, big pre-budget announcement he’ll proclaim he’s going to widen 10 one lane bridges in Northland!

  8. Agreed.

    In the aftermath of the earthquake the state should have acted in the way it is meant to act after a natural disaster – like a rock, especially for relatively powerless ordinary people.

    Instead, the state acted not like a rock but like a huge boulder catapulted from Wellington and aimed at the heart of Christchurch. When it ‘landed’ it created a massive crater in the central city and, by fiat, kept everyone else away from it and unable to respond. It sidelined the council to an irrelevance and has operated in a fashion that is hard to interpret in any other way than cronyism – favouring some, ignoring others in a manner that follows no particular principle.

    A kind of unethical, narrowly-focused pragmatism.

    • Sorry, was meant to be a reply to BruceThe Moose at comment 5.

    • ropata 8.2

      yep they might as well have kept the army there with a big fence around the CBD.
      at least they succeeded in smashing down as many buildings as possible (with intact valuables inside) in the shortest space of time. shock and awe.

  9. millsy 9

    Bet you they will be behind a paywall — donations, activity fees and BYOD.

  10. david 10

    Many of us have never trusted Key but more and more this government is being exposed as all sizzle and no sausage.

    What actually have they achieved in their 6_years? You’ll find that the positives were either due to world markets, Kiwisaver (introduced by Labour), high construction activity due to leaky buildings and chch.

    Style over substance.

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