An 8-year-old boy has penned an important yet emotional letter to Education Minister Chris Hipkins over the welfare of teachers.
As the country's primary school principals and teachers kick off the meeting over whether to accept a pay offer or take industrial action, one boy warned Hipkins of the potentially disastrous outcome of not looking after primary teachers.
"Dear Minister Hipkins," the letter started.
"Imagine if there were no more teachers. We would not be able to spell correctly or read properly.
"What if there was a fire, who will safe us [sic]?
"Who will teach us reading, writing, art, maths and PE.
"Minister Hipkins can you please look after our teacher and we promise you we will look after them too."
Teachers and parents praised the boy, many believing the voice of children carries powerful messages.
Others called on Hipkins to listen to tamariki.
"This is fantastic - it also made me think - I think that people sometimes forget the huge amount of responsibility we have, not only for education but also for the safety and general wellbeing of 'our' kids," one teacher wrote.
"Well said and yes minister Hipkins time to listen to our tamariki," another wrote.
"This is their education, their future. They have a right to comment on how it should look."
Primary teachers' collective agreement lead negotiator Liam Rutherford said the ministry had offered a pay rise ranging between 2.2 and 2.6 per cent a year for three years for most primary school teachers.
Members of the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) Te Riu Roa are meeting to decide whether to accept or reject the pay rise and to vote on whether to hold nationwide half-day work stoppages from 1.30-4.30pm on August 15.
The Government's offer was a far cry from the 16 per cent increase over two years that teachers thought necessary to address a shortage of teachers.
"What's come from the ministry falls well short of what members felt was needed to make the teaching profession attractive," Rutherford said.
"There are not enough teachers training, and there is anecdotal evidence of teachers and principals leaving because of the workload.
"The biggest shame of the whole thing is we have such experienced and passionate teachers who are being burned out by workload and starting to wonder what else is out there."
Primary principals' collective agreement lead negotiator Louise Green said "significant issues" needed to be addressed.
"After a decade of neglect under the previous Government, there are significant issues facing education, including a growing teacher shortage, stress and workload problems, and under-resourcing.
"Children with additional learning needs are not getting their needs met. Principals and teachers have these issues weighing heavily on their minds as they head to their union meetings."