Controversial Minister of Education Hekia Parata visited an empty site in North Canterbury this afternoon, where construction of a new $15 million school is expected to get underway in April.
She also revealed there will be a complete rebuild of the quake-damaged Halswell Primary School - both will be the cutting edge of modern education.
“We want to be able to build here a better education network than there was before and that's why we are investing $1 billion over the next 10 years,” she says.
The 31 schools facing closure or merger are finding the good news hard to swallow. They're calling it a PR stunt, ahead of her announcement in two weeks.
“Perhaps they are trying to balance up the news about education a bit, but come February 18 there are going to be some upset people around Canterbury for sure,” says Ouruhia School principal Mark Ashmore-Smith.
The minister has been under fire over how she handled the announcement of the proposed shake-up of the city's education system last year.
“We've learnt lessons from the way that the information was conveyed in September and using those lessons have consulted widely on how the schools would like the information conveyed this time,” she says.
Ms Parata has also been criticised for signing off on Novopay.
She met with the principals of the affected schools this afternoon to discuss how to handle the controversial announcement in 10 days' time.