Teachers are fleeing the profession and fewer are lining up to take their place, in what their union is calling a crisis in education.
Statistics show teachers are leaving education and students do not see it as a desirable career choice. This is reflected by a 40 per cent reduction in teacher training in the past six years.
About 90 primary school teachers met in Whanganui on Wednesday to discuss the reasons behind the falling interest and latest pay claims.
"The big issues were around our claims, which are our pay, our workload and our time to teach," said New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) Te Riu Roa field officer Graeme Whitworth.
The union meeting was the second of four scheduled in Whanganui, as meetings are being called nationwide.
"It was very positive, the teachers are right behind the whole thing," Mr Whitworth said.
He predicts that over the next two meetings a further 130 primary school teachers will get the chance to listen and have their say.
"The mood was very strong today, they're very supportive of our proposed claims, we had one hundred per cent endorsement from this particular meeting," he said.
"Now, we move on to the next meetings and then nationally we will get the feedback to see if the negotiating team can take it over to the negotiating table."
The issues will be discussed again at next week's meeting at Whanganui Intermediate School on Tuesday, March 27.