Some of Tauranga's primary and intermediate principals and teachers are part of about 30,000 New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) union members who have rejected the Government's latest pay offer.

NZEI president Lynda Stuart said the three offers from the Government did not do enough to fix the crisis in teacher recruitment and retention.

"The big concern for members was that the offers had nothing that would give teachers more time to teach or principals time to lead," Stuart said.

"From the beginning of this process we've been clear that to attract and retain teachers we need to be paid fairly and have the time and support to ensure every child gets the best possible education," she said.

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While the latest offer for teachers included a total salary increase of about $9500 to $11,000 over three years, it failed to address the important issues of time and class size, which underpinned the crisis in education, Stuart said.

"Disappointingly, we end this year without the necessary movement from the Government, and with still not enough to meet the needs of children, schools and teachers."

Stuart said the union would seek further negotiations immediately, requesting a new offer by early in Term One next year to bring back to members.

Tauranga Special School assistant principal and NZEI Tauranga branch lobbyist, Andrea Andresen, said the latest offer also did little to address the issue of teachers' increasing workloads.

Andresen said a common story she had heard "over and over again" was teachers who were over 50-years-old and were leaving the profession as they could no longer cope with their "crippling workloads".

She said it was important to have a fair offer that would help retain these experienced teachers as they were the ones who often helped mentor newer teachers.

Andresen said it was "quite likely" combined action would be taken in the new year as NZEI members had been in discussions with the Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA).

The Ministry of Education's education secretary, Iona Holsted, said the ministry was committed to continuing bargaining in good faith and minimising any further disruption for students' learning and parents.

"It is only by negotiation we will settle this long-running dispute," Holsted said.

"We now invite NZEI to return to the bargaining table to discuss options for settling the collective to meet their member's priorities within the $698 million package."

Holsted said the $698m package, which followed bargaining in November, had been described by the Employment Relations Authority as "handsome and competitive".

The Ministry of Education's deputy secretary for early learning and student achievement, Ellen MacGregor-Reid, said the ministry and the PPTA would meet again on December 13 for mediated bargaining and believed this would be a useful step for both parties.

"The Ministry is focused on settling these negotiations and on minimising any disruption for students' learning and for their parents."


The Ministry of Education says it is addressing NZEI's concerns about workload by:

- Spending an extra $500 million for learning support.
- Providing $40 million to boost teacher supply in the short to medium term.
- Working with the sector to develop a long-term Education Workforce strategy.
- A joint taskforce with teachers and principals to identify compliance-related administrative tasks that can be reduced or eliminated to free up time for principals and teachers to teach.
- An Education Professional's Wellbeing Framework has been endorsed and a plan for rolling it into schools is under way.