Parents, Whānau and Caregivers 

Last week the teachers voted to strike over the recent offer from the Ministry of Education. This offer was not significantly different from the offer the teachers rejected last year.  

It is a shame that we have got to this situation. The last time we had a teacher vacancy it took over three months to find a suitable candidate and resulted in only one New Zealand trained applicant. This shortage of teachers has not occurred overnight, rather it has been getting steadily worse for a number of years, for a variety of reasons.  

Over the next few weeks we will see claim and counterclaim made through the media by interested parties. We will also see inappropriate tactics used.  Most alarmingly, in the latest offer from the Ministry of Education, there is a steadfast refusal to maintain pay parity for primary teachers. 


In the 1990s primary teachers fought and won parity with secondary teachers on the basis that “a teacher is a teacher is a teacher”. The common understanding has been that parity means teachers across the state sector should have the same base pay rates.    Because of the different term lengths across the various collective agreements in the sector, primary teacher pay rates now sit up to 3.9% behind other state school teachers. The MoE have not addressed this difference in the offer.   We have also seen the MoE offer primary full-time teachers, covered by the Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement, a one-off gross payment of $500 while offering our secondary colleagues $1000.

This outdated thinking has no place in present day society, particularly by a government that has been actively campaigning about gender pay equity. We believed and hoped that NZ had a commitment to pay women the same as men, yet in a primary school workforce where over 83% are women (vs approx 62% secondary) we have a Ministry of Education willing to perpetuate and extend this gender bias and inequality. I can understand why our teachers are upset. Click here to read what a teacher has to say about this issue.

The subtle differences in the offers have been deliberately designed to de-stabilise the relationship that primary teachers have with their secondary colleagues and create an us versus them environment.

These behaviours and attitudes towards women would not and should not be tolerated in a school environment and I am bemused that our Ministry of Education would model this type of behaviour and thinking.

If you disagree with gender inequality and believe this type of thinking and behaviour by the Ministry negotiators is inappropriate, I would encourage you all to write to our local MPs. 

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern:

David Seymour:

Melissa Lee:

Michael Wood:

I do hope that we can have this dispute settled quickly without further disruption and loss of goodwill.  




Many families have asked if they can participate in our strike action on Wednesday 29th May in solidarity with our teachers.  There is a march planned up Queen Street, beginning at 12.00pm on Wednesday 29th May, with a planned Rally at Aotea Centre at 1pm, and the crowd dispersing by 2.00pm. 

We invite families to join us at Newton Central School at 10.15am for a 10.30am departure to walk along Great North Road, Karangahape Road and down Queen Street to join the masses.  We would value your support, as such a march, showing solidarity amongst Primary and Secondary teachers alongside parents and students, will be a huge statement to the government.

This promises to be one of the biggest protests in recent history.  If you plan to support us, we look forward to seeing your creative banners and placards!  Don’t forget water bottles, snacks, whistles, bright colours and wet weather gear.

NZEI Campaign Information

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