Bay of Plenty principals are split over whether more strike action should be taken over pay and resourcing disputes.

Yesterday at the NZ Educational Institute's (NZEI) annual conference in Rotorua, the union recommended rolling regional strikes in the week between November 12 and 16.

All members will be asked to vote on the proposal in an electronic ballot from October 16 to 25.

Kaitao Intermediate principal Phil Palfrey said something needed to change but was undecided as to whether he would support strike action.


"I can understand why people feel upset. What bothers me is that people have maybe got view the current Government isn't listening, I think they are.

"Maybe the bigger picture is we need to keep lobbying."

Palfrey said his school split classes about once every two days.

"That's just unacceptable. There are issues with the relieving pool, and I'm worried we're not going to be training enough."

Greerton Village School principal Anne Mackintosh said union members had yet to vote on the recommendation and it was hard to say what might be decided.

"A lot of teachers are struggling financially, but it's got past the money stage now."

Mackintosh said strikes were effective.

"None of us like the thought of striking because we're hurting the very people we try to protect and nurture," she said.

"We've got a huge recruitment and retention issue and I've already seen the effects of that.

"I knew the crisis was coming, but I didn't expect it to be here right now."

Otonga Rd School principal Linda Woon said the critical issues for the profession were attracting and retaining staff, special needs funding, and class sizes.

She believed a second strike was "absolutely" necessary.

"Teachers are committed to lifting the status of the profession by making it more sustainable for people to come into."

The union is seeking a 16 per cent pay increase over two years plus more staffing, including for special needs co-ordinators and reducing the staff/student ratio in Years 4 to 8.

The Ministry of Education has offered a revised 9.3 per cent pay rise over three years. It has not offered any significant change in staffing.

Tauranga Special School assistant principal Andrea Andresen said strike action was a "considered response to the insufficient reaction from the Ministry of Education" and she would support it.

Andrea Andresen, assistant principal at Tauranga Special School. Photo / File
Andrea Andresen, assistant principal at Tauranga Special School. Photo / File

"Our ministers of education and finance need to realise we are serious about this. If we're going to have enough teachers in front of classes in the future something needs to change."

Andresen said a rolling strike would have "maximum impact" in terms of publicity and while it might result in one day of lost class time now, it would prevent more lost time in the future.

"Our students are losing day now but how many are not going to have teachers in the future unless we stand up now."

Finance minister Grant Robertson said the Government understood where teachers were coming from and thought they had made a good and generous offer.

"We absolutely recognise that we do need to value our teachers more and better, but what we're also saying is we can't do that all in one go."

He said alongside the issue of pay was the other work the Government was doing.

"Providing better support for children with different learning needs and special education, we've taken away some of the burdens of national standards."

Secretary of Education Iona Holsted said the Ministry of Education would continue to negotiate with NZEI "to avoid disruption for children and their families and to reach a settlement".

NZEI president Lynda Stuart said no further dates for negotiation had been set but "we want to actually settle this".

She said the union would talk to politicians.

"The Ministry of Education are the ones we negotiate with, but decisions are made by politicians, we know that," she said.

"So it's really important that where we have a need to have conversations, we have them."