School uniform prices should be lowered - Education Minister

Parents around the country are feeling the pinch as the first day of school looms nearer, but the new Education Minister wants to change that.

Vanessa Blakeley says she's already had to pay $900 for uniforms for her three children this year.

"My son's just finished primary school and is going to intermediate for two years, and I've just had to spend $500 for a uniform - that's going to be two years."

Former professional boxer Dave Letele - known as the "Brown Buttabean" - is also fighting to bring down the price of uniforms. He says last year it cost him $1000 to kit out his three school-aged children.

"It's absolutely disgraceful. I feel like whenever I go into these uniform shops they need to have a balaclava on because they're robbing people."

As a community boot camp leader, he says he sees many families struggling to meet the cost.

"It's a massive amount of money. For a lot of us people we're living week to week, paycheque to paycheque.  Some of us are living day to day. How are we going to pay this sort of money?"

The Government admits it's a problem, and says it's looking into what it can do.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins told Newshub he doesn't want to see schools making a profit out of the sale of uniforms, and has sought advice from the Ministry of Education about the issue.

"I certainly think that we will look to put in place some guidelines around school uniforms," he says.

"I don't want to see schools making a big profit of the sale of school uniforms. It seems to me that cuts against the New Zealand tradition of a free school education."

Unfortunately his words have come too late for parents this year who have already paid an exorbitant hidden cost for their children to go to school.