Government to review education costs

The government is promising to take steps to get New Zealand back on track to free education.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told The AM Show it's time to look at accessibility.

"We're meant to have free education and yet with things like so-called 'voluntary' donations and the cost of uniforms, they are escalating.

"That should not be an impediment to a child being able to access education."

This comes as parents around the country are shelling out up to $1000 on school uniforms ahead of the school term.

Ms Ardern said in her day, her school was very deliberate about having generic polo shirts that could be purchased relatively cheaply.

"We surely have to be encouraging alternative ways to find uniforms."

However, the Prime Minister says it's not just about the cost of the items themselves, but costs across the board.

"Before the end of the year, probably one of the biggest initiatives you'll see from this government in terms of family incomes was the families package, so 384,000 families on average getting about $75 a week by the time it's fully implemented.

"We're certainly looking at the operational funding for schooling generally, and that's meant to ease the cost that's being spread onto parents."

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."