The Minister of Education, Chris Carter, announced on Monday October 20 at Sancta Maria College that it was giving $18.8 million to the national Catholic school system in retrospective funding to pay for 85 percent of the capital cost of establishing Sancta Maria College in Botany, Manukau City.
This is a wonderful statement of confidence by the government in the national Catholic school system. It complements the $13.3 million in retrospective funding that was recently received to help pay for the establishment of Aquinas College in Tauranga.
The receipt of a total of $32.0 million is part of a long-term agreement the Board of New Zealand Catholic Education Office (NZCEO) has had with the government on behalf of proprietors of Catholic schools in creating student places in areas of demographic growth.
Bishop Pat Dunn, on behalf of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Conference, thanked the minister of education, the prime minister and the minister of finance for their generosity in bringing forward the Sancta Maria College payment by 12 months. In so doing, pressure on the NZCEO loan funding agreement with the Board’s bankers has been relieved.
Pat Lynch, the NZCEO chief executive officer, recalling that the prime minister had opened Sancta Maria College five years ago, praised her interest in Catholic schools and the tangible support she has shown for them.
He also acknowledged the active support the ministers of finance and education have given to the integrated school system.
Sancta Maria College serving the Catholic community of the south-east Auckland region will enrol close to 900 students in 2009.