1 Sep 2020

Treasury opposed Green School grant over lack of approvals

2:19 pm on 1 September 2020

RNZ can reveal a major concern of Treasury in opposing an $11.7 million Green School grant was it did not yet have the full education approvals needed for a private school.

Green School New Zealand.

Green School New Zealand. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Greens co-leader James Shaw has apologised for the decision to sign off on the grant, calling it an error of judgement, after a massive backlash.

The Treasury advice to Shaw and the others ministers who signed off on hundreds of projects for infrastructure investment says the Green School does not have "full private school registration" and would be unlikely to get that until mid 2021.

"We believe it would be inappropriate to announce or provide government funding for a project that does not yet have the necessary education approvals," the advice says.

Furthermore, it says even if it had the "necessary" approvals, "we do not recommend funding for this school".

Treasury also objected to the project being overseen by the Provincial Development Unit saying it was not the "appropriate agency for this school".

"If this option is progressed, MOE [Ministry of Education] should be the responsible agency as it is the steward of the Education Act, and has the experience required to ensure the school gets the right network provision in place, and education system oversight going forward."

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