School building project paused due to budget cuts

Pāpāmoa College. File Photo.

Pāpāmoa College is in dire need of expansion due to the increasing roll growth, but the Ministry of Education has paused a $60 million building project for the expansion of Pāpāmoa College.

The reason for the pause - rising costs, budget cuts, changing roll growth forecasts and reprioritisation.

“The expansion project at Pāpāmoa College was to provide additional capacity to the school through the construction of an administration block, a technology block, two teaching blocks, a second sports hall and whare,” says Ministry of Education head of property Sam Fowler.

“The two teaching blocks have been delivered, and construction on the administration and technology blocks is underway.

“In January this year, the College was advised that the construction of the whare and additional sports hall were paused while the relative priority of this investment was considered.

“Since September 2023, a number of projects have been paused while we explore more cost-effective options or because the expected roll growth has not occurred or forecast growth has changed. 

“A small number have also been paused while we determine their relative priority to other investments to make sure we are making the right investment at the right school and at the right time to maximise the benefit of our investments for all schools.”   

Pāpāmoa College principal Iva Ropati is devastated by this decision.

“We are extremely disappointed at the Ministry of Education’s decision to cancel our two remaining building projects.

“We believe the short-sightedness of the Ministry and Government decision-makers will result in the loss of learning space and progress for our school.

“We are experiencing rapid student roll growth and the buildings were an essential part of our infrastructure to deliver core curriculum.

“We have an expected roll of 2000 students by 2025, which is growing by 50-100 students a year.

“The region is one of the fastest-growing suburbs in Tauranga and we will not have the capacity within the next few years to cater for student learning.

“We are a school that has appropriately responded to a nationwide call for better student outcomes and last year enjoyed significantly better NCEA achievement rates.

“At level 1, we improved by 15 per cent and at level 3 and UE by over 12 per cent.

“A possible and likely consequence of not having a learning space jeopardises further improvements and future aspirational goals that the college has set.

“We do not think it is appropriate that schools like ours or the wider education sector should be the target of cost-cutting due to the previous government’s spending behaviour.

“We think it is absurd that we are having to compromise the learning of young people because of ill-informed and poor decision-making from the very people who need to support the work of schools within our NZ communities.

“Despite our formal communication to both the Ministry of Education and a letter to the Minister, we have not received a response, leaving us disheartened and angry.”

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7 comments

Puts labour spending into perspective

Posted on 21-02-2024 12:07 | By jed

Labour spent 20 million dollars on the non-existent Auckland harbour cycle bridge, 200 million on Auckland rail and not 1 meter of track was built, probably a billion on three waters which was so controversial even labour mostly dismantled it.

Yet, when it comes to something tangible that is desperately required, like a school classroom, there is no more money left! Yet, labour are all slapping each other on the back about the wonderful job they have done running the nation...

I have little doubt that this classroom will now be built, because National do seem to have a bit more common sense going on.


The Master

Posted on 21-02-2024 13:29 | By Ian Stevenson

@ Jed

Actually "Skyway" was a fabrication created by none other than Stephen Town ex CEO of: - Wanganui Polytech (MOE bailout or go-bust), Franklyn Council (massive legal mess cost millions) TCC CEO (massive spending n debt, left early), AKL (TGA ditto), NZTA-GM (generally naughty in many things - left), Polytech merger (yet another financial merger mess, cost blowout and sacked?)

Skyway cost NZTA some $60+m, it was massively beyond a pipe-dream of the lefty-stupid-dreamers who reside only in LA-LA-Land 24/7. The initial costing was some $20-30m, byt the time it got through AKL Council and into NZTA it was then about $680m and it was still not viable in any shape or form.


The Master

Posted on 21-02-2024 13:31 | By Ian Stevenson

Papamoa does not need that which is cancelled by the MOE, in fact most of the canceled part is meaningless, pointless and provides no space for the additional student numbers needed.

First priority is class space, then ensure attendance.


Nothing left...

Posted on 21-02-2024 14:13 | By This Guy

lol complaining there is no money left because of Labour but not saying anything about the $3 billion in tax cuts National is giving to landlords... If there is "no money left" then surely tax cuts should be the last thing on anyone's mind? (The idea that the people in charge are "responsible financial stewards" is a bad joke) Here are the results of your "tax cuts for the wealthy" underfunded schools and cuts to social services...


Classrooms yes.....

Posted on 21-02-2024 22:11 | By Bruja

A whare, no. A school does not need a whare.


The Master

Posted on 22-02-2024 19:26 | By Ian Stevenson

@ This guy

What tax cut, what $3bn? The Labour decision was lunatic -absurd beforehand and forever since... maybe you should go back n do some research, updating and reality checking.... when done you will have a much better answer...


Take your own advice?

Posted on 23-02-2024 18:01 | By This Guy

It's not a secret Ian, it was a campaign promise... "Landlords set for early tax refunds under coalition agreement, policy cost tipped to hit $3b & Government’s $3 billion landlord tax cut would be retrospective and trigger some refunds - IRD" (just google that first line for more articles) National do not have the money for this tax cut but are sure going to ram it through anyway (I wonder if the PM's multiple investment properties have anything to do with that?) So more cuts are coming everywhere, and we're all going to pay for it in the long term... (I see Customs was getting cuts today... so enjoy waiting longer for your overseas parcels and more illicit drugs slipping through the net)


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