Private Schools now cheaper than some Public Schools

Zoning policies (which often stop popular schools from getting bigger) are leading to an increase in private school registrations.


Because it is cheaper to pay the up to $10,000 a year private fees than it is to pay a premium for a house in the right school zone. The premiums are estimated to be:

Christchurch $30,000
Wellington $50,000
Auckland $100,000

One thing people often don’t realise with zoning is it isn’t just about allowing studebnts to attend their local school. If only. It stops good schools from growing if there is a bad school nearby under capacity.

Here’s an example. School A is very popular because it has a respected Principal, high standards, excellent academic results and good sports and culture activities. It has capacity for 1,000 pupils and has all 1,000 place filled up with 980 from within the zone and only 20 outside.

School B used to be as popular but a change of principal has seen it decline. Staff and pupils have been leaving. It has capacity for 800 and now only has 600.

Now School A has 100 more students who would like to attend. So it applies for permission to put on a couple more classrooms so it can take 1,100. Then it can take everyoen in zone and out fo zone – ie all those who want to attend it.

But the Government looks at the city/town and says no no no. There is spare capacity at School B. We will not allow any more extensions at any school until School B is full up. Never mind people don’t want to go there anymore.

Zoning would be far less of an issue, if it was not accompanied by building restrictions on popular schools.