26 Aug 2020

Government to pump $11.7m into privately-run Green School in Taranaki

4:13 pm on 26 August 2020

The government is to fund an $11.7 million expansion project at the privately run Green School in Taranaki.

Green School New Zealand.

Green School New Zealand in Taranaki. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Associate minister of finance James Shaw made the announcement today saying the project will "secure" 200 construction jobs in the region.

Shaw said the "shovel-ready" project would enable the Green School to expand its roll from 120 students to 250 a level at which it would contribute $43m each year to the local economy.

It would be funded via the $3 billion set aside for infrastructure in the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund, he said.

The Green School, which opened in February, has a focus on sustainability but doesn't come cheap, with enrolment and tuition fees costing up to $40,000 for some full fee paying overseas students.

In February it had a roll of 50 students ranging from Year 5 through to Year 13, half of whom were from overseas.

Shaw said the school attracted students from all over the world, which brought huge benefits for the local economy and our broader export earnings.

"International education was until recently New Zealand's fourth largest export sector. It is obviously going through a very tough time right now as a result of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

"This project not only secures 200 jobs in the near term, it also creates additional capacity for the time when people are able to travel more freely, enabling Taranaki to develop a thriving international education opportunity."

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James Shaw. Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

Shaw said the project would create hundreds of quality jobs.

"Meaning more people can continue to provide for their families whilst we weather the economic storm of the pandemic crisis. These jobs will provide a good day's pay, doing meaningful work, building a better future for Taranaki.

"The support we are providing will help Green School to meet growing demand from parents all over New Zealand, and the rest of the world, wanting to enrol their children. This will mean more families can take the opportunity to put down roots in Taranaki and contribute to the future growth of the region," Shaw said.

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