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Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

Question No. 4—Education

4. ANGELA ROBERTS (Labour) to the Minister of Education: What support is the Government giving to schools to help them reduce their carbon emissions?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS (Minister of Education): I recently announced 41 schools from the Far North to Southland that will receive funding for projects to help reduce their schools’ emissions and to save them money. This was the second round of the Sustainability Contestable Fund and work will begin immediately. These initiatives will help to reduce carbon emissions and costs for schools across the country.

Angela Roberts: Can he give examples of the kind of project that the Sustainability Contestable Fund supports?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: Yes, I can, but I will only choose two. Ladbrooks School in Halswell installed new LED lighting, new low-flow tap fittings, a heat pump system to replace an old hot water cylinder and more efficient heat pumps to replace electric fan and panel heaters. At Randwick School—[Speaker counting on fingers]—two schools; two examples of schools—

SPEAKER: Ah, two examples.

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: At Randwick School in Lower Hutt—

SPEAKER: Very good school—a very good school.

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: —there were 48 solar panels being installed and it’s estimated that’s going to save the school $2,600 in the first year alone, with its savings expected to total more than $65,000 over 25 years.

Angela Roberts: Is this all about solar panels and boiler replacement or are there other sorts of things happening as well?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: Oh, that’s a very good question. Solar panels and boiler replacements are very popular projects, but we’ve seen other innovations funded, including rainwater collection, water conservation initiatives, composting, and recycling initiatives. These projects also help to build business confidence by providing a pipeline of work for local suppliers and contractors like plumbers, gasfitters, electricians, and builders.

Angela Roberts: What other action has the Government taken to support schools to reduce their carbon emissions?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: More good news. We’ve also committed $55 million through the State sector decarbonisation fund to replace up to 90 coal boilers in schools with low-emissions alternatives like woodchip boilers.

Hon Stuart Nash: If at all possible, Minister, will these new schools or school refurbs be built out of wood?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: I thank the Minister of Forestry for the question, And, in fact, I can report that I recently visited Waimea College who have built nine new classrooms with wood-only technology, removing a lot of concrete and a lot of steel from the construction process.

Hon Damien O’Connor: Will the Minister consider instructing officials to look at wool as a suitable flooring material and insulation material for all those new construction projects?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: I can advise the Minister that is, of course, one of the things that we will continue to consider.

SPEAKER: I think we’ll refer to those members as “Wooden” and “Woolly”.

Chris Bishop: Point of order. You’ve just taken three supplementaries from us. Just wonder why that was—

SPEAKER: Because three members interjected when a member was asking a question.

Chris Bishop: Yeah, well, we just ask for some consistency, because when the Hon Damien O’Connor was asking his supplementary then, there was quite a degree of noise and interjections from the Labour members. It’s a fairly jovial question. Members were enjoying the spirit of near Christmas on a Thursday afternoon on a question that people were enjoying, so I just—

SPEAKER: I think there’s a significant difference between—[Interruption] Mr O’Connor will stand, withdraw, and apologise.

Hon Damien O’Connor: I withdraw and apologise.

SPEAKER: I think members are aware of the difference between a slight murmur of humour and disparaging loud noises, as at least three members made while Ms Roberts was asking her supplementary question.