New Zealand to launch PPPs in education

New Zealanders are a step closer to their first public-private partnerships in the school sector, after the government approved a proposal to involve private investment. Projects will see the financing, building and maintenance of schools by the private sector.

The New Zealand government has announced it will launch a public-private partnership programme for the building and maintenance of schools, according to media reports.

The initiative, which was flagged by the government last year, was today formally approved. It will involve private sector operators financing, building and maintaining schools for a set term. The ownership of the land and schools will be retained by the government, and boards of trustees will remain in charge of governance and day-to-day running.

New Zealand’s infrastructure minister, Bill English, told the local media that the system will take the burden off the government in relation to such eventualities as leaky buildings and allow boards of trustees and principals to drop property management obligations and concentrate on education. He said this could result in schools being built cheaper than if the state retained responsibility.

It is expected that tenders for the first PPP schools could be issued next year.