Today's teachers' strike highlights major issues for the coalition ahead of Finance Minister Grant Robertson's so-called Wellbeing Budget on Thursday.
It's symbolic of a problem when you promise big things and then scramble to deliver on them. And this Government is making hard work of many of its flagship election promises, including KiwiBuild, free tertiary study and the Provincial Growth Fund.
It has also put a bunch of union-friendly industrial relations legislation in place while at the same time leaving the impression that it's turned its back on the teachers.
That has given National's Simon Bridges plenty of ammunition ahead of the Budget, particularly after he released Budget information ahead of its release.
Bridges quickly used the figures he'd obtained to highlight what he claimed was a lack of investment in key areas such as district health board funding and education, despite extra money for defence and forestry.
"It makes a mockery of the Government's inability to settle the teachers' strike and refusal to fund more for dentistry – there's money for tanks but not for teachers, there's money for trees but not for teeth," he said.
"This has nothing to do with the Government's wellbeing priorities. It shows the Prime Minister has yet again had to throw her principles out the window to buy off Winston."
The teachers' strike affects 1229 schools or 51 per cent of all state and integrated schools with union members.
For the first time, teachers and principals are banding together for a mega-strike calling for better working conditions, resources and pay.
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The Government's offer is a $1.2 billion deal over four years, which Education Minister Chris Hipkins said would bring teachers into the top 20 per cent of income earners.
The offer would lift teacher salaries by 3 per cent per year for three years and add an extra step at the top of the salary scales.
Earlier this week Hipkins again insisted that the Government could not afford more than that although there is some speculation it might be looking to pay more for non-contact hours to relieve teacher workload.
The teachers' strike symbolises the step up in industrial action since the Government came to power in October 2017.
Official figures show there were 46 strikes in 2018, involving 7716 people, compared to just six strikes in 2017 and three in 2016.
Business group the Employers and Manufacturers Association says the increase is due to the unions becoming "emboldened" under Labour's policies. Those include changes to the Employment Relations Act, implementation of Fair Pay Agreements, increasing the minimum wage, increasing paid parental leave and goals for pay equity.
The Government says strikes are on the increase because many of the long-term collective agreements ran out in 2017 and with unemployment now under 4 per cent, the balance of power has shifted somewhat.
But the fact that strikes are dominating the news is something the coalition should be concerned about.
It's exactly the kind of thing those "quiet Australians" across the ditch showed their distaste at in rejecting Labor and re-electing Scott Morrison's party.
Morrison appealed to those keen on just getting on with it while Bill Shorten and Labor drove a wedge of scepticism over big government agendas and the return of union-dominated workforces.
The Ardern Government should be mindful of that sentiment as it builds on its social agenda set out in Thursday's Budget.