Education Minister Chris Hipkins says the pay offer put to teachers and principals this week was "the final deal" - apparently quashing school principals' hopes that they might get more.

Primary school principals have voted to reject the deal they were offered, even though primary teachers have accepted their deal.

The deal would have lifted principals' pay rates by between 9 and 14 per cent, proportionately less than an 18.5 per cent pay hike for ordinary teachers at the top of the basic scale.

Some principals have said the deal would give their deputy principals higher pay packages than the principals themselves.

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NZ Educational Institute president Lynda Stuart said the deal also did not give them pay parity with secondary school principals, who are only in the early stages of their pay negotiations.

"Crucially, while teachers have won parity with their secondary counterparts, the Government did not offer primary principals parity with their secondary principal colleagues. That clearly isn't fair, so they have voted to fight on for a better offer," she said.

But Hipkins told reporters at Parliament today that the extra $271 million he found to restore pay parity for primary and secondary rank-and-file teachers was "the final deal".

"I was very clear that the extra money we were putting on the table for pay parity was there on the basis that that was the final deal," he said.

"We were only willing to put that money on the table because we had an undertaking that that was the final deal, so we'll be sticking to that."

He had earlier said that the Government would not go beyond a four-year cost of $1.2 billion for teachers and principals, but found the extra $271m after a joint strike by primary and secondary teachers on May 29.

Hipkins found another $271m for teachers' pay after a national strike (above) on May 29. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Hipkins found another $271m for teachers' pay after a national strike (above) on May 29. Photo / Brett Phibbs

He said pay parity was a long-established policy for primary and secondary teachers, but the issue of parity for primary and secondary principals was "a longer-term issue" that would be discussed through an "accord" agreed as part of the pay settlement.

The accord notes that a unified pay scale (UPS) has been confirmed for teachers and says: "The extent to which a UPS relates to principals will be a matter for future discussion."

"We put it in the accord because we know we have got some work to do," Hipkins said.

He said the next step would be for primary principals to "get back around the table with the Ministry of Education".

"Of course we need to keep talking to them," he said. "There is goodwill, I think."