On the weekend our two main political parties held conferences where they started to discuss ideas and policy for the upcoming election. I certainly wasn’t following events closely but I one discussion that caught my attention was about schools.

On Saturday it was revealed that the government are looking at setting up urban schools as a tool to help deal with Auckland’s growth.

A new type of school will be considered to help cope with Auckland’s booming population – with land possibly being leased, no playing fields and students using community facilities.

The cost and limited availability of green space downtown means building new schools with normal facilities such as playing fields will be hugely expensive.

However, existing schools in central Auckland are approaching capacity, and intensification will require the Ministry of Education to find space for tens of thousands of extra students in coming years.

In a speech to the National Party northern region conference today, Education Minister Nikki Kaye will outline a set of principles to guide possible investment in a new school model, which could help meet future demand in urban centres like central Auckland.

Similar models are used overseas and can involve locating a school in a smaller site that may be leased.

Such a school could use community facilities like playing fields rather than having its own, and make use of its location to form connections with local businesses to set-up work placements.

While I’m sure the devil will be in the details, on the surface this sounds like an excellent idea and as the story mentions, one used overseas. We all know that Auckland is growing rapidly, and therefore is going to need more schools and bigger existing ones to cope with that growth. Of course, land is an increasingly expensive commodity and so building new schools in the middle of urban area isn’t going to be easy or cheap. At the same time, many community facilities, such as parks, are underutilised, especially during the middle of the day. As such, urban schools that use existing community facilities seems to be a great way to make better use of the resources we have.

I suspect the biggest of those devilish details would relate to the cost of maintaining those community facilities. At the moment the council are the ones who pay for the upkeep of parks and other facilities and so the proposal could be seen as a way of palming off costs from the government to ratepayers. But if some sort of co-funding agreement for use of those facilities was in place it could work out well, possibly allowing councils to upgrade those public facilities which would have benefits for locals.

It’s hard to see what real objections there could be to such an idea, but Labour leader Andrew Little managed to find one.

Labour leader Andrew Little has poo-pooed the idea of ‘metro schools’ without school playing fields in some inner city areas, saying it would be ‘disappointing’ to abandon the traditional New Zealand schooling experience.

Education Minister Nikki Kaye has proposed some ‘metro schools’ in fast growing inner city areas such as Auckland where land was short.

Such schools would instead use nearby community facilities for playing fields and gyms.

Little said most parents would expect a grassed area for their children to play in at school.

“It would be a pity if we lose sight of that. I think one of the great things about the New Zealand school experience is you do have a green space to run around in and kick a ball around or play bullrush in for those who allow it these days.”

Seriously WTF. One of the great struggles Auckland is having in recent years has been getting those who don’t live here that Auckland is actually a city and not just some overgrown provincial town. While they’re by no means perfect or going far enough, we’re finally, and slowly starting to see some urban thinking emerging from a few in the current government. Of course, many are just as bad. Then we get this rubbish which makes me think Little doesn’t have the faintest clue about the where over a third of New Zealanders live.

To put the issue in perspective, I took a look at some numbers. As we’ve talked about before, Auckland’s City Centre (as shown below) has seen some massive growth over the last 15-20 years, going from just over 5,000 people in 1996 to almost 47,000 people in 2016. More than 10,000 of that have been added in just the last two years.

Statistics NZ also happen break their population estimates down by age, so I took a look at the numbers. As of 2016, around 1,900 of those 47k people were under the age of 15. As you can see from the graph below, the majority of those are in the 0-4 age bracket, likely a reflection of the fact that many of the people moving to live in the city centre are young couples. Unless those parents equally suddenly move out of the city, it’s hard to see just how the current schools in the area are going to cope – for example the current Freemans Bay School upgrade underway is designed to cater for 600 pupils. It would be interesting to know where Little thinks we could buy enough land in the area to support a school. Perhaps he plans on capping a few motorways (that would be good).

Land for schools has always been an issue. I recall speaking to someone who, quite some time ago, worked for the Ministry of Education and part of his job was around planning new schools. The policy at the time, after identify the general area where new schools would be needed, was to find the cheapest land available. No effort was put into siting schools in locations that would best serve the community, such as from transport or community place-making perspectives. This is likely why it’s not uncommon to find schools in locations which are difficult to serve with public transport and which helps to encourage even more parents to drive to drop their kids off. Perhaps this urban schools idea could also help us to put schools in locations where they also better serve the community.

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63 comments

  1. “Playing bullrush” is a carefully chosen dog-whistle to appeal to the reactionary anti-PC crowd for whom “bullrush” means the Good Old Days where rough-and-tumble play forged hard-nosed Kiwi jokers and sheilas, not these politically correct poofters they read about in the Herald. Little is disgusting and, if this is Matt McCarten’s doing, he should be ashamed of himself.

    1. Yep, i had to read that comment twice to make sure he’d actually said Bullrush – That got banned from my primary school when I was about 8 years old …

      That response from Mr Little really ingrains how annoying he is as an opposition leader.

        1. Interesting, falling more as a child reduces adult fear of heights. Is that a good thing?
          I wonder if vomiting more as a child reduces adult fear of poison?

          1. Perhaps you could actually do some research on cognitive development instead of condescendingly sneering at people with whom you disagree?

          2. Actually I have done some research, literally did the research. I used to work as an analyst at the Monash Accident Research Centre, including a lot on the so called ‘cotton wool’ effect. FYI the only health outcome that is a statistically significant result of early childhood injury is sequelae of childhood injury. Getting hurt as a child doesn’t make you a healthier adult, it just means you have a greater likelyhood of ongoing health problems related to the injury.

        2. I repeat:

          the reactionary anti-PC crowd for whom “bullrush” means the Good Old Days where rough-and-tumble play forged hard-nosed Kiwi jokers and sheilas, not these politically correct poofters they read about in the Herald

          1. Of course it’s a dogwhistle from Little. I’m just pointing out that the replies to your comment are factually incorrect with a side dish of games with risk of injury are good for children.

  2. the devil is in the details alright. Sounds fine in theory. In theory.

    Given that schools already pay a bare minimum of “rates” to the council as it is (mostly via Watercare for the 3 waters – Fresh, waste, storm) they use/generate) and nothing for the land they occupy – on the basis that they perform a public service of educating kids.

    It would be pretty bad form for Auckland Ratepayers to then be saddled up with more cost to maintain “school play areas” as a change from their current guise as “local parks” usable by all and sundry,

    And the if the Ministry of Education ends up paying a fair chunk of the upkeep of these parks since they use them the most, how long before they are effectively the tail wagging the dog/being managed by MoE as if it was their land all along?

    After all don’t schools really want their own playing fields to protect the kids from all the alleged baddies out there in public parks, so presumably when the kids are using the park, the teachers or minders will shoo anyone else away who might be trying to use the park [whether for innocent reasons or otherwise].

    I see a privatising the profits and socialising the costs outcome doing this if we are not careful.

    A privately run (charter/urban/private) school could in the not too distant future, end up monopolising a local park for “their [fee paying] kids” to use.

    While that may be good for swimming pools, which need a lot of upkeep and overheads, so sharing makes sense. School grounds? not so much.

    And what happens if a park has 2 or more urban schools on its boundary – do we end up with a bun fight as to what school can use the park and when, and who decides? And when do the ratepyers and general public get a say?

    Smells of a cop-out to me, rather than the innovative solution it sounds.

    But then, thats just my cynicism for the current governments education plans, as generally unless it involves people clipping tickets or making profits off the public realm, it seldom gets a look in.

    1. I recall hearing about examples overseas where the local park is closed off to the public during the day but then opened again after school if finished.

    2. My primary and intermediate school shared sports fields after the primary school built prefabs on their formal fields and a hall where the playground used to be.

      1. Your prefab example is the result of the lazy thinking and knee-jerk planning response we see from MoE. And the MoE forcing a Hobson’s choice onto the schools in the process.

        We need much better than that old-school thinking, in 21st century, post UP, Auckland.
        Last year had the UP become operative which says Auckland in general and Auckland “central” in particular needs to grow more up than out.

        So why don’t schools and MoE take a peoper leaf out of the UPs book and also do the same thing – Go Up not out?

        So build two storey class room blocks instead a gaggle of single level buildings or worse a bunch of prefabs scattered every which way like confetti over the limited school grounds?
        Which will help preserve the ground while fitting more kids in to it.

        The reason why it doesn’t happen is because doing that requires proper forward planning by MoE to do that, and they don’t seem to want to do that at all in existing but intensifying, areas – and they’ll do it, but only as a last resort, in green fields areas using the cheapest land they can find.

        School planners, are unlike traffic planners – who will always predict traffic will grow, MoE planners seem to think that growing schools [and thus the schools roll count] will never happen, they will fall out of fashion, real soon now, and the school roll will go down. So maybe the two storey classrooms are not needed.
        And maybe it will go from a Decile 10 to a Decile 1 school next year. And everyone will avoid the school as a result. And maybe pigs will fly.

        So building big expensive (permanent) classrooms that last decades will be a waste as sooner or later the school roll will fall and they’ll have surplus buildings which can’t be moved or repurposed as easily as the spreadeagled pre-fabs can.

        I think we require that *all* government departments get up to speed with the UP and how it needs to change their current last century mindset and thinking.

        Thought: Maybe we need to grade Auckland roads as Decile 1 to 10, and when a road is too full we give it a Decile 1-3 classification, so SOV drivers, who can, will avoid it like the plaque assuming its a bad road like they do for Decile 1-3 schools now?

        But Urban schools are not the answer to this problem. They are simply an easy way out for MoEs planners, for their past lack of proper growth planning. It lets them get away with these poorly thought out ideas and also cements in bad outcomes like poorly sited schools in greenfields areas.

        We no longer enable the NZTA to simply build its motorways anywhere they choose nowadays, so why should MoE be allowed to assume we’ll bend over backwards to let them take the “motorways everywhere” equivalent approach for schools?

        While its true that the quality of the teaching/teachers at a school is more important than the buildings. Its also true that schools need some ground attached to them, at the very least so that the kids can get fresh air during the breaks.

        But the environment also plays a part here too.
        Any school which is all buildings with almost no grounds will be unattractive to the students and also the staff (teachers) who work there. Making those Urban schools, educational ghettos of the future if they are not implemented and resourced properly.
        Especially if, as it seems, the Gov’t wants to fit hundreds of students into these sorts of schools to cater for the growth the UP allows as of right.

        But really, if the school is in a popular area [like the Grammer zone in Auckland], yes it will cost a lot of money to acquire the land for any new school, and just like PT corridors, it will cost a lot more in the future to acquire it then, if we don’t do so now.

        So MoE just needs to grow a set of land-banking balls, go buy the land, hang on to it, build the schools, and if and when the school ever needs to be shutdown, the land will be able to be resold for housing or other development for many times more than the MoE paid for it. Even after inflation and the costs of building and then demolishing the school are included.

        This tosh we regularly get fed about we should spend “money for teachers not classrooms and grounds” which is really what is at the heart of the Urban schools idea, is a cop out.
        Its a temporary band aid excuse for why we should accept the inferior solution. When we have a much bigger, longer term problem. For which a proper longer term solution is needed, starting now. ‘Cos if we really believed in that we’d pay teachers a shit load more than we do.

        So in essence Urban schools is just like pre-fab classrooms are for growing schools.

        I’d accept an Urban school with no grounds only as a way to start a new school up, and only on the understanding that the adjacent grounds will be acquired down the track [no more than within 1-2 years], using the PWA if needed.

        Beyond that its a recipe for poor educational outcomes.

  3. Its merely putting schools where they are required and then coming up with innovative solutions for the downsides like lack of space for sportsfields, leveraging off public facilities.It should be applauded.

    Little just sounds like an opposition leader out of his own innovative ideas, with the standard response “computer says no”.

  4. Maybe parents living in the CBD are happy for their children do find pursuits outside of rugby / soccer etc anyway? Think outside the box. Most sports are now club rather than school based anyway. #1 game at my sons school, and they have a large sports field, is hand ball.

      1. Well, hopefully that’s what will happen. However, the numbers of poor single parents in the cbd has been of concern, who have to keep preschoolers and young children quiet in the public areas of apartment buildings and can’t let them out onto balconies that aren’t safe.. Well-designed apartment buildings where children are truly welcome and plenty of places to stretch their legs and potter in nature are possible but need to be actively planned for.

        1. I doubt I’ll find the study again, but those kids already get more exercise. Mostly because kids don’t get exercise by running in a yard, but by walking or cycling to school or other activities/playing in streets and parks. Urban dwellers have far better access to those opportunities.

          1. I don’t doubt you at all, actually. It’s probably just the littlest ones who are not catered for. Looks like AC, Plunket and others have been working on the issues anyway.

            This isn’t the article I remember reading, but it touches on the issue. I remember the biggest issue being rules about noise in the stairwells and foyers, and the balconies, which should be at least a source of fresh air, having to be locked off due to poor design around safety.

            http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/parenting/baby/79068070/auckland-mothers-feeling-isolated-among-innercity-living

  5. This proposal seems like a good idea in terms of more efficient land use, and putting education where it’s needed in the most dense areas.

    The main issue I see with this proposal is having a lower initial cost, but having a higher overall cost in the long run. Generally schools are not temporary, and as property values generally rise, as do leases, it’d probably be best to make the investment in the land, even if it’s a small piece of land, so that it can be an asset to the education system forever.

    As public parks are generally least used during the day, especially ones with sports fields, I can’t see this being an issue too often, but as you said, the devil is in the details….

  6. I wonder how much of the Herald article is actually Little’s views and how much is sensational editorialisation of him saying “It would be a pity if we lose sight of that.” To me, from the direct quotations, it seems he is just warning that we need to make sure there is space in public parks that schools can use.

      1. Yes from anywhere nearby enough to commute to the CBD.

        And even today, places where that takes less than an hour are already getting horrendously expensive.

        1. “Yes from anywhere nearby enough to commute to the CBD.”

          Which, is a massive area given a quick look at the reach of our trains, buses and ferries.

          “And even today, places where that takes less than an hour are already getting horrendously expensive.”

          A trade-off all workers in Auckland CBD have to make, I guess.

  7. Urban dwelling kids can be encouraged to do the following excercises within inner city

    – 100m Sprints – Promoting more vagrants to chase after school kids and their lunch monies

    – Abseiling/Rock Climbing – Allowing kids to tie bedsheets together and throw it off the side of existing apartment buildings

    – Swimming – Gathering kids school bags and ferrying it across the Waitemata. Forcing the kids to go fetch their backpacks.

    – Long jump – Saturday/Sunday morning stroll through the dank/dingey back alleys of inner CBD becomes mandatory part of School curriculum. Kids jump across suspect puddles of water.

    I’m being serious guys………. 🙂

      1. Bit of a trend in knife throwing amongst 11 year old boys at the moment. I had to explain that the boundary fence isn’t a good target… setting up a sheet of plywood in the middle of the backyard did put out of use a fair bit of my taro plot and the ripening banana bunches are in danger. That’s just for one boy, so yes, knife throwing does take a bit of space. But maybe you weren’t as serious as Stephen 🙂

  8. let the market decide, same with golf clubs. large tracts of land in urban areas could often be better used than as a sportsfield/golf course.

    1. If by “better” you mean financially profitable then sure.

      Heaven forbid we have values other than the monetary in our society.

  9. Little thoughts seems to have been given to the logistics of getting the kids from school to a playing field: if it is a primary school, there will need several adults per class to walk the class. Who? If using a bus, who will pay for the cost? Will the MoE cover the extra cost?

    The swimming pool at our school was out of order for a few months – so the kids used the one at the school further up the street. It took 30mns to get there (young kids do not walk fast) and the same to come back. Every time parents had to help. It became just too difficult and time consuming.

    I attended urban schools in Europe, so yes I know that one can survive with a small concrete patch as playground. But let’s not delude ourselves – we had very little opportunity to use public grounds.

    The Gvt has been in power for 9 years and behaves like population growth in the Auckland CBD is a big surprise. We seem to be able to discuss the option of a CBD stadium but somehow space for a couple of schools is a major issue….meh.

    1. Yip, I don’t mind schools using parks at all (but there are these obvious logistical nightmares.). I do mind the MoE not planning for new schools, as if they are unaware of what’s happening demographically.

      Western Springs College is the secondary school zone for the CBD – that’s a pretty long way to have to go to school when you’re supposedly living in the central city for good access to facilities.

      Inner city schools are required. Leasing just pays the money over time to a landlord. So the options are either raising taxes or compulsory acquisition. I’m happy with either of those.

      1. The MoE are keenly aware of the need for new schools, they just can’t handle the heat so they stay out of the kitchen. Any proposal for a new school will necessitate redrawing of school zone boundaries which will trigger a ferocious legal and lobbying response from those who stand to lose hundreds of thousands from being moved outside a plum zone. This is one of those issues where they just have to get on and set a precedent with the first one, then the rest will topple like dominoes. The value of your investment can go down as well as up

        1. I agree that’s what they should do. One area where there wouldn’t be the resistance, though, would be halving the Western Springs College zone into a CBD and a WSC zone. The cbd school would win back some of the kids going to private schools and WSC wouldn’t be forced to become a huge school with cbd growth numbers. Win win.

  10. In an ideal sense, I think it is better that schools have their own fields (surely, we can agree, more green is better?). Furthermore, although this is a rarity with colleges and many primary schools, these fields would also be open to the public outside of school hours. However, if this means limiting schools to the periphery or restricting urban growth, it is better, I think, to co-opt existing spaces.

    To be honest, I am not sure this is that different to that primary school that seems to use the Domain for this purposes (the bit closest to Parnell Library) so it’s hardly like it is not done here.

    (Speaking of the Domain… I amend some of my earlier comments on its walkability to note that moving from that road that you use to get to Parnell Station, to the playing fields when it is wet either involves a massive dogleg, damp shoes or walking on the road… which some people hoon… and coming down from the new entrance to the Museum to Parnell Library is similarly in need of a footpath during the rain.)

  11. My school in Belfast didn’t have any sports fields. We played at a local park or quite often on bomb sites. My grammar school didn’t have any fields either yet my young brother still was good enough to play professional football.
    There are a lot of schools in Paris of this type.
    I think playing fields are great but one has to cut one’s suit according to the cloth.

  12. National more progressive than Labour? Say it ain’t so, Andrew.

    We could do with a primary/NCEA school in the city. I’d be more than happy to teach at it.

  13. This is an interesting debate. Of course schools should be provided in urban areas where there is a need. However what the government appears to be saying is – it’s too expensive to provide the services we normally do at urban schools so we will provide less. That isn’t the way our welfare state typically works. We don’t generally differentiate according to cost, we provide the same service to everyone or pay more for those with more need.

    If the government is saying land is too expensive for fields for new schools, this equally applies to holding playing fields at existing urban schools. Apart from status quo bias the opportunity cost is the same. So the question then becomes – is the imputed subsidy of providing playing fields for eg Auckland Grammer really fair?

    Personally I would look at increasing development of existing schools. Although a primary school or two downtown would make sense.

  14. I’m not down with this.

    Think of the big Auckland parks – Vic and Domain. Both, particularly Vic, are crammed with lunchtime fitness classes. Will the schools now have monopoly rights over the parks?

    Remember, these aren’t empty spaces; when I’m doing intervals at lunchtime there will be 3-4 classes ongoing.

  15. Sounds good in theory, agree devil in the detail. Certainly in many suburban areas the parks are pretty quiet mid week during the day, so would be good use of resources. We used public swim pool while our high school one renovated for about a year…..just probably when we trailed 50 min periods so wasn’t much swim time left after walking changing etc, which I didn’t mind actually. Placement is the key.

  16. Senior college have been running as an urban school (albeit private) in the CBD for a decent time, does anyone know what they do?

    Probably just encourage the students into different types of activity that doesn’t require paddocks? Parkour class anyone?

    1. I was there a while ago and we did PE in the old Aotea square a few times, also in the school gym. I remember lunchtime soccer games in the Aotea sq grassy patch. Obviously its not a very sporty school, but I believe we had a cricket, soccer and waterpolo teams.

      And yes there was at least one guy who was quite into his parkour 🙂

  17. Whats currently stopping 3 bedrooms family apartment from flourishing is the lack of high decile public school in auckland central.

    If a public high decile quality school is in city, I am pretty sure there will be new demand of new family apartments getting build, and we will have a more balanced eco-system and family amenities in city.

    What happens internationally is urban school are generally high density multi level complex with at least 3-5 levels, with the roof as outdoor sport field. There will be indoor recreation area inside the building as well.

    If land is expensive, then build a really nice world class building.

    I am pretty sure the new rates collected from the new family apartment will pay off the investment.

    1. Would you agree that a purpose built school with roof as an outdoor sports field is something the MoE should own, not lease? Leasing seems like money down the drain.

      I agree that families would be encouraged into the city by a good, public school. Do you want to have a re-think of the need for it to be “high decile”? I would have thought families progressive enough to consider leaving suburbia for the culture-rich inner city would also be progressive enough to realise they don’t need a high decile school. Just a good school, respectful of all the students. High decile means a lot of things, but also that your kids are mainly rubbing shoulders with the well-heeled, and that is not everyone’s idea of a good education.

      1. Ahh yes, the “culture rich inner city”

        Out in suburbia, we have no place for such. I had better strip my shelves of my Dickens, Shakespeare, Malory, Fowler (H.W.), and Bronte. No place for such in suburbia. Instead, I shall have to purchase all the Dan Brown my shelves can take, as well as copies of “NZ Rugby” magazine.

        1. I’m not saying anything of the sort, so please don’t take offence. If I was to move to the cbd it would be for easier access to the festivals, the Council facilities like the art gallery, the venues, the library, as well as good public transport out of the cbd to the other things the city has to offer. I have a family – I may be in the demographic Kelvin was referring to.

          I was simply pointing out that a good school doesn’t have to be high decile, and for plenty of families after the things the cbd has to offer, they may not even want their children to attend a high decile school. Nor do I think Kelvin was actually saying they would – he was probably, and harmlessly, using “high decile” to mean quality, and I – equally harmlessly, I thought – was pointing out that they are not the same thing.

      2. On the question of a school “needing to be” high decile. No-one can just decide that a school will be high decile. It is determined by the socio-economic status of the students (ie, their parents). A decile 10 school means that the parents are in the wealthiest 10 percent of the country. (Loosely – decile rankings look at income, occupation, household crowding, quals, and income support.)

        Freemans Bay Primary School, whose enrolment zone is a near perfect match for the CBD, is decile 6. Which reflects the type of people who currently live in apartments in the inner city.

        FWIW, I’m one of them. We have a 3 bdrm apt in the CBD, and two preschool kids. We bought the apartment last year to help manage the two biggest problems with Auckland, namely cost of housing and unspeakably, astonishingly bad traffic and minimal public transport.

        1. Yup, which is why I brought it up. The school will just have whatever decile ranking it has. It’s important that it is not then viewed as “unsuccessful” if it is not high decile.

          Decile ranking in a cbd does raise some questions though. Decile ranking is useful for two reasons: the incoming children will have different needs, reflected in the decile ranking, and the surrounding community will have different abilities to raise funds for the school, also reflected in the decile ranking. So a school in a wealthy area can ends up having “helicopter rides” offered as part of their fund-raising gala. Schools in a poor area don’t have a community able to offer that.

          What sort of support would a cbd offer a school? It could be massive, if the corporates see it as a good PR exercise. It could be pitiful. Do we have any idea?

  18. Urban schools can be great and are an overdue idea at all levels. For example the resistance for moving or urbanize Mt Cook School in Wellington is beyond frustrating.

    Wellington High School is actually a decent early example of a mostly vertical high school. For its size it takes up relatively small area unlike the absurdly expansive Wellington College nearby that has fields galore.

    Here is a recent example from my current home town (granted it’s a private school in this case):
    http://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2017/03/seattle-academys-vertically-oriented-middle-school-set-to-rise-above-13th-and-union/

  19. Go to any primary school during a break and all you see on a day without rain is kids running around squealing, burning up energy. Go on a rainy day and it is not too fun sitting in the hall or classroom.

    Given this is a National Party announcement nothing is ever quite as it seems. Do equity groups or investors lease the MoE the school and the taxpayer pays through the nose for the privilege?

    This kind of reeks of someone making a quick buck, “with land possibly being leased” while we have to accept another step backwards in the way this country could be. Cannot buy a home, cannot afford to live in the same city you work in, rising crime rates, less access to health care, can’t have grounds for school kids

    Do we want NZ to be that kind of place were kids are battery chickens, jammed into schools without grounds? I mean I see above mention of the good old days of kids playing in bomb craters that never did me any harm justification, but really?

    Should the public make way in parks so schools without grounds can take over at times?

    Nothing against multi story classroom blocks but kids jammed into a building for school without grounds seems very much a poor example of the rest of the Western world, a type of second best idea!

  20. When downtown car park gets redeveloped could you allocate a couple of levels to a school? Easy access to tepid baths and Vic park, potentially even open space right on doorstep when Hobson flyover goes.

  21. “Labour leader Andrew Little has poo-pooed the idea of ‘metro schools’ without school playing fields in some inner city areas, saying it would be ‘disappointing’ to abandon the traditional New Zealand schooling experience.”

    Using the word “traditional” => your argument is worthless. I sincerely hope National get booted out at the next election, but Labour just make it all unnecessarily hard.

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