Government's Budget announcements for kids can't be trusted

A huge underspend in special education shows that Government Budget promises can’t be trusted and Ministers have no idea about the real needs of children, the Green Party says.

More than $32 million of funding for children with special needs has not been spent by the Government, despite families of children with special needs complaining for years that they’ve been denied the support they deserve.

“It’s hard to know whether this is deliberate penny pinching or a complete lack of understanding about the extent of the need in schools; either way children with special needs are missing out,” Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said.

“This is what happens when the Government is not focussed on the needs of kids, but on other things, like keeping its disastrous Charter School experiment alive.

The Green Party commissioned analysis after last year’s budget showing that spending on education and health was falling in real terms under the National Government. Yesterday we saw the Prime Minister pretending he was spending more on education this year when all he was doing was re-package funding that had already been announced for new schools needed to keep up with population growth.

“The Government likes to be seen to be doing things in education because it knows that is what New Zealanders want, but the experience of special needs kids and their schools is that the promises are increasingly empty.

“The special needs sector has been crying out for more resources for years, and its shocking that the Government is not even spending what they said they would on the most needy learners in New Zealand,” Ms Delahunty said.

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