Children Suffer Because of Govt. Inaction


Our children are worth investing in!

Waikane school teacher Lisa Geraghty says children are suffering because ‘the Government says ‘NO’ To Our Tamariki.’

Lisa, a Kāpiti representative on the NZEI teachers’ union, says about 30,000 teachers and principals across New Zealand took historic strike action this year.

‘The decision to strike was not made lightly. The needs of our tamariki and communities are always at the forefront, and because of this, teachers used this day to speak to the government on behalf of our tamariki.

So, what have teachers asked for?

  1. Reduced class sizes.

What this means for our children is more one-on-one time with their teachers.

The government’s offer: NO.

  • Extra classroom release time.

What this means for our children is teachers will have time to plan and implement effective lessons and programmes. This gives us ‘time to teach’, time to do administrative tasks, time to prepare for each and every child.

The government’s offer: NO.

  •  A fully funded SENCO (Special Education Needs Coordinator) in each school.

What this means for our children is a teacher whose sole responsibility it is to provide school wide classroom support for children with learning needs. This role ensures children who need it do actually receive support.

The government’s offer: NO.

The government have since promised to look at this role (one teacher per two schools), a promise released to the media one day after teachers rejected the second offer in which this was not stated. This offer needs to be written into the Collective Agreement so that funding for this is guaranteed.   

  • A pay jolt.

This addresses: a) teacher recruitment b) to match other degreed professions c) to retain quality teachers who are leaving.

What this means for our children is we will have a sustainable profession which attracts and retains the best and brightest educators.

Waikanae School teachers Doris Lake and Lisa Geraghty

The government’s offer: 3% a year for three years, equating to 9% by late 2020. While this is an improvement on any other offer, teachers salaries are far below other skilled, degreed professions, so this is not enough to address the crisis of retention and recruitment. This is simply back pay for years of capping.

Teachers have collectively said NO to the government’s inadequate offer.

Pride in surplus, but not in schools

Since our strike action, the government have insisted our children wait, and insist there is no more money to invest in education.

Proudly, they have since announced a surplus of $5.5billion. Proudly, they have pledged $10.5million on recruiting overseas teachers. But, they will not invest in teachers here, now. Teachers with knowledge of our Tikanga, our curriculum and the importance of the Treaty of Waitangi within education.

There has been no new offer. The government continues to say NO to our tamariki. But our tamariki cannot wait.



I have my sister-in-law here, who is a teaching principal in South Otago. She recently advertised a position in her 3-teacher rural school and didn’t get a single applicant. She ended up appointing her main reliever, who, due to having young children, didn’t really want to be fulltime. So it may be that there are teaching positions available for your daughter, Lis, but that some new teachers aren’t in a position to move to those locations due to her partner having permanent employment where she currently is, or that her support network is in her current location. The teacher shortage is real. (See Hence the govt now trying to recruit from overseas.

Why was pressure not put on the National Party when they were in power? I’m getting fed up with the Nurses and Teachers demanding & pressurising government. Let’s begin by homing the homeless & feeding the hungry & a long list of other neglected issues before putting your hands out for more, more, more. I was in Hospital when the government announced it’s first increase for Nurses’: I can tell you there were some very excited and happy Nurses that day but no, others weren’t as satisfied & so it went on & on & on. Other countries may pay more but the majority have more people paying taxes too. We are a small country & I for one would choose a lower wage over living anywhere else in the world. Try working in the private sector where you are paid according to your individual contribution. I have witnessed staff coming to work in the morning & sent home without a job before the end of the day. Told they didn’t meet their target sales … goodbye. It didn’t matter that they had families and mortgages. I worked in private health care & didn’t get a holiday in four years. No overtime & very long hours. The real world is clearly not visible to some Teachers’ & Nurses’.

quote “But, they will not invest in teachers here, now” unquote
I have a daughter who recently graduated from uni after several years hard slog – working full-time, studying. She cannot get even to interview stage because she is a beginning teacher and the school heads say they cannot commit to the two years supervision required to ‘finish’ her training. She could go overseas though, work as a fully qualified teacher right now on double the income being offered to teachers here.

There’s something very wrong with that picture.

Maybe the reason schools won’t commit to the 2 yrs PRTs need to get registered is that:
a) PRTs are 0.8 staffing which means a reliever has to be in the class 1 day a week to release the classroom teacher, and getting suitably qualified relievers is a challenge.
b) the staff who would be doing the supervision and paperwork involved with attestation are already stretched by their current workload and any more would potentially be too much to cope any longer.
On the pay jolt, please to remember to subtract the 3 years of Cost of Living increases from whatever offer there is. (Cost of living is currently increasing quite sharply because of petrol and rent increases.) Only the net increase is what teachers would get as an incentive to remain in teaching, and is therefore much more modest that is portrayed in the media.
(Disclaimer: I am an experienced teacher)


Leave a Reply to Peter Corlett Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.