|NEW ZEALAND'S EDUCATION
21 July, 2010
The Government is taking the next step towards a public-private partnership for building and maintaining some new school property, Infrastructure Minister Bill English and Education Minister Anne Tolley announced today.
\"This Government has made it clear we are open to greater use of private sector expertise where it makes sense - for example in April we signalled our intention to proceed with New Zealand\'s first PPP prison,\" Mr English says.
\"Initial investigations show that building some new school property through a PPP could also result in a modest saving over traditional methods as well as offer some educational benefits.
\"This is consistent with overseas experience which shows appropriate use of PPPs can introduce new design, financing and maintenance techniques that provide better services and value to taxpayers.
\"PPPs also expose the public sector to new methods of asset management and procurement - helping them raise their game. That is vital if we are to ensure our children and communities get the modern classrooms and facilities they need within available resources,\" Mr English says.
Officials will now prepare a stage two business case, which will include a decision on specific schools. A tender process could start early next year, subject to Cabinet approval of the detailed business case.
Mrs Tolley says PPPs have the potential to deliver educational benefits.
\"The land would still be owned by the Government, while the board of trustees would remain wholly in charge of the governance and day to day running of the school,\" Mrs Tolley says.
\"The private sector partner would be responsible for financing, building, managing and maintaining the property for a set term. This means the school and its board could focus more on teaching and learning, without the added responsibility of managing the property.
\"In addition, the private-sector partner would carry the risk around time-consuming and expensive problems like leaky buildings and be required to sort them out quickly or suffer a financial penalty.
\"If a project goes ahead then trustees, teachers and communities can be assured they will be closely involved.
\"Assessing the viability of a PPP has also had positive spin-offs for the Ministry of Education, including a stronger focus on price competition and assessing the cost of an asset over its whole life.
\"This increased focus on long-term costs and getting the best possible price will reap benefits for taxpayers in the future, whether schools are built by traditional means or through a PPP,\" Mrs Tolley says.