The National Party has promised to scrap teacher registration fees if it wins the September election.
The party's new deputy leader and education spokeswoman Nikki Kaye says National would ask taxpayers to pick up the $16 million annual cost of abolishing the fees.
Teachers' unions have been campaigning against a Teaching Council decision to raise the fee from $220.80 every three years to $157 a year - roughly doubling the annual cost to teachers.
The council, formerly called the Education Council, was reconstituted by the current Labour-led Government in response to teachers' demands to make it independent of the Government with a majority of members elected by teachers.
But control by teachers came with an obligation for teachers to fund the new body, which oversees teacher training, professional standards and disciplinary matters as well as registration.
The council said the previous teacher registration fees covered only 40 per cent of its costs so it was forced to more than double them for all 105,000 registered teachers, including early childhood, primary and secondary teachers.
However Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) branches have been meeting over the past three weeks to vote on a motion of no confidence in the council, saying it needs to be replaced by "an institution that meets teachers' needs".
PPTA president Jack Boyle said 95 per cent of teachers have supported the motion of no confidence in meetings so far.
The Early Childhood Council said 70 per cent of early childhood centres paid their teachers' registration fees at the old rates, but only 13 per cent would keep paying them at the new rates.
"Our fear is that teachers facing a choice between paying for their own certification and staying in the industry may leave, just when we need every qualified teacher we can get," the council said.
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Kaye said National would keep the council's independence and would not make any changes to Labour's legislation about it except for abolishing its power to charge registration fees, at least in most cases.
"There may be very limited exemptions to allow the council to charge late fees or to cover the additional cost of processing registrations for overseas applicants, for example," she said.
"We have a situation where we have a teacher shortage. We have a deep recession coming. We have looked at other countries such as the UK, where teachers don't pay registration fees.
"From my perspective, really if we are still true to wanting people to become teachers, it's a small amount, it's a small thing."
Boyle, who was briefed by Kaye before today's announcement, said scrapping the registration fee "would certainly be helpful" to allay teachers' concerns.
"I think it's important that no matter who is in government, they don't have a monopoly over good ideas," he said.
"Certainly in this matter National has been quick, and I would say quite timely, in its response to the way the consultation and decision making of the council have impacted on teaching professionals in New Zealand."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said registration fees were normal in professional bodies.
"It's not unusual for us to have bodies such as a teachers' council in the same way we do for nurses and they do usually involve registration fees," she said.
She said that ultimately, the Government wants to see teachers well supported – "that's why we have seen those increases in their wages when they were needed".
But she also said professional development and support is needed for school, which is provided by the Teaching Council.