Would you pay higher rates to help pay for swimming lessons for kids?

Christchurch City Council has raised the prospect of a small rates increase which would fund swimming lessons for all students in the city.

Christchurch City Council is considering free lessons for children as part of making its recreation facilities more accessible. Source: Breakfast

The draft idea would mean an average rates rise of about 30 cents per ratepayer, and would ensure kids got swimming lessons.

Water Safety New Zealand head Jonty Mills says it's a great idea which would help to address New Zealand's high drowning rate.

"More and more children are coming out of the education system without an adequate aquatic education," he said.

"I think it's the inherent right of every child ... it's part of our Kiwi way of life and part of our culture here in New Zealand."

Daniel Faitaua can't believe it costs so much to teach a potentially life-saving skill. Source: Breakfast

Prime Minister Bill English, speaking this morning to TVNZ 1's Breakfast programme, said he wasn't familiar with the proposal, but added that thousands of Kiwi kids already get free lessons.

"For kids who can't afford swimming lessons, it would be great if they could get access like that," Mr English said.

Water Safety New Zealand has backed Christchurch City Council's proposal to raise rates by 30 cents to pay for free swimming lessons. Source: 1 NEWS

"I haven't seen any proposition like that but like anything else, if people can show the benefits of it, we're interested in it, particularly if its about our children."