Tauranga principals say a new package to recruit more teachers was a "predictable response" that does not address teacher's pay and work conditions.

Principals said the aim to attract about 900 overseas teachers by next year would create further pressure to teach newcomers about New Zealand's education culture.

The $10.5 million package, announced by Education Minister Chris Hipkins, came as primary teachers are due to vote this week on further strike action in support of a 16 per cent pay claim.

Hipkins said the Ministry of Education estimated 650 extra primary teachers and 200 extra secondary teachers would be needed in 2019.


The package provides for relocation grants of up to $5000 for immigrants and $7000 for returning Kiwis aimed at more than doubling the target for recruiting teachers from overseas in 2019 from 400 to 900.

Tauranga Special School principal Barrie Wickens said the shortage was a repeat of 24 years ago when the Government's response was to import teachers as fast as possible.

"It is a predictable response," he said. "While it is applauded, it indicates quite clearly it is a short-term fix.

"It is a band aid process for a major problem."

Wickens said overseas teachers would not be immersed in New Zealand's education culture, which would become a problem.

It was a missed opportunity for part-time teachers in New Zealand seeking employment, Wickens said.

He questioned what incentives overseas teachers were being offered above teachers in New Zealand.

Matt Simeon, of the Western Bay of Plenty Primary Principals Association, said the Ministry should address teachers' work conditions and pay before introducing any new ideas.


"We have got teachers that have left the profession because of workloads, expectations, pressures, the restraint etc," he said.

The Pillans Point School principal said there were "significantly less" applicants for teacher jobs in Tauranga, but the city had not reached the crisis schools were facing in Auckland, where there were few to no applicants.

He said he had 10 applicants for a job currently advertised at the school, compared to as many as 80 about three years ago.

Simeon said while it was positive the Ministry had addressed the need for more teachers, overseas teachers would not have the knowledge of the Treaty of Waitangi or "the cultural aspects of New Zealand".

Rotorua Principals Association president and Rotokawa School principal Briar Stewart said the announcement was "too little, too late".

"The teachers that have left to go overseas have gone because the pay is so much better there," she said.

"I would be surprised if they can get 900 teachers to come home."

Stewart said the pay was not enough to attract new teachers to the profession.

"Bringing people from overseas is going to stop gaps but the pay and conditions [need to be addressed]," she said.

Horohoro School principal Eden Chapman said the announcement was a positive step forward, but did not address the issue of recruiting Kiwi teachers.

"You need to be able to have an attractive profession that attracts the best people to it," he said.

Chapman said the workload needed to be addressed for teaching to become a more desirable career choice.

Ministry of Education deputy secretary Ellen MacGregor-Reid said the new grants "will be targeted where there are shortages of teachers in some subjects and locations".

Hipkins said the Government was determined to "pull out all the stops" to meet next year's projected shortfall.

"Our immediate focus is to get sufficient quality teachers in place for the next school year," he said.

"But longer-term workforce planning is already under way, and the analysis being refined will support this work to address what is expected to be a need for even more teachers in a few years' time."

- Extra $10.5 million in funding
- Up to 230 grants of $10,000 for schools to get more graduate teachers into classrooms
- More than 6000 overseas-based teachers targeted in new campaign
- $5 million more available for overseas relocation grants and finder's fees
- Easier access to up to $3,000 per teacher finder's fee to help schools offset recruitment costs