The price of a free school education will soar to record heights this year.
Official figures show "voluntary donations" from parents and others will this year have collectively provided more than $1 billion to bankroll schools since 2000.
Commentators have described that as a watershed figure with some arguing New Zealand's "free education" system is broken.
I just did some back-of-a-matchbox calculations.
Would it be reasonable to ask parents to pay say $96 a year towards their child's schooling? That's on average so obviously some would pay a lot less, possibly even nothing because the fee is voluntary.
There are 13 years across a child's education.(Year one to Year Thirteen).
So there are roughly 780,000 children in the school system (13 years x 60,000 in each age-band). Let's drop of the 4% that attend private schools which leaves 748,800.
That would amount to $72 million annually.
Over 14 years that would be just over $1b
$96 is $24 a term or $2.40 a school week. It's just downright outrageous.