The large surplus announced by Treasury today shows the Government has the room it needs to end the crisis in education today.
NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart says the strong economic result provides an opportunity for the Government to revise its offer to primary teachers and principals and avoid further potential strike action in November.
“Up until now the Government has said they don’t have the money to improve their offer to teachers,” said Ms Stuart. “Today’s figures show the Government has the room to move if they have the political will to do so.”
The $5.5b surplus compares to an estimated $921m total annual cost of primary teachers’ and principals’ claims – including smaller class sizes, more support staff and a 16% pay increase.
“If the Government were to turn around and fund every single one of our claims, the annual cost would still only be 17 percent of the surplus announced today,” Ms Stuart said. “Ultimately it’s children and their learning that are hurt the worst by the Government’s failure to address the teacher shortage and increase support.”
NZEI Te Riu Roa primary teacher and principal members voted last month to reject the Ministry of Education’s latest offers, which they felt did not adequately address concerns about the growing teacher shortage, time to teach and support for children with additional learning needs.
Members are due to vote on whether to hold rolling one-day strikes in a secret ballot from 16-25 October.