Primary and area school principals reject second offer as negotiations continue

Negotiators said the second offer "fails to recognise the complexities of a principal's job"; principals have voted to take further action.

NZEI primary and area school principals have rejected the government’s second offer, voting to pursue further action.  

The decision was announced last Friday following a week of meetings across the country, which were held both kanohi ki te kanohi and online. Online meetings were held in regions affected by Cyclone Gabrielle to ensure all members would have their opinions heard.  

Principals Lynda Stuart and Ripeka Lessels, negotiation leaders for primary and area school principals respectively, said “many of our colleagues were far from impressed with the government’s offer”.  

 The second offer, which came before Christmas, included a revised pay-sale, a pay-increase of 3% and one-off payments of $750 and $500 for members of NZEI and all principals respectively. It also included increased sabbaticals and a Māori immersion teaching allowance.  

Stuart and Lessels said the offer “failed to recognise the complexity of a principal’s job, and did not acknowledge the need for more support and staffing to ensure our school leaders can do their jobs more effectively.”

NZEI principals voted to take further action following the rejection of the second offer.  

“The feeling was strong that we needed to do something for the government to recognise our concerns,” said Lessels.  

“The time for the government to act is now, because they will be hearing from us more loudly and clearly in the next few weeks.” 

This week, NZEI primary teachers will hold meetings across the motu to vote on their second offer, which was presented last year in late December. Area school teachers will join them in solidarity, reminding the government that they are still waiting on their second offer; negotiations for area school teachers began over eight months ago.  

Teachers in Cylone Gabrielle affected regions will hold smaller worksite meetings or attend online meetings.  

Teachers are currently campaigning on areas of concern like reducing the teacher-student ratio, increased release time and increased learning support and funding for ākonga with high needs.  

NZEI President Mark Potter added “Teachers want to ensure that their pay and working conditions are sufficient to attract and keep people in teaching so that tamariki get the best possible experience in our schools and kindergartens.”  

Naomii Seah

Naomii Seah is a writer and journalist from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. She has been covering education in New Zealand since 2022.
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