“It’s deeply disappointing the Government hasn’t increased its pay offer to teachers as part of Budget 2019 given the significant challenges in our education system”, ACT Leader David Seymour says.

“Education is a slowly moving disaster. The OECD tells us that 17 per cent of children don’t meet basic literacy standards. Student results are declining in international assessments such as PISA. There is massive inequality in outcomes for different groups, with Māori and Pasifika falling behind.

“Teachers are the most important in-school influence on students but the Government refuses to pay them more because it has blown billions on Fees-Free and the Provincial Growth Fund.

“Teacher pay is falling behind other professions. Those at the top of the pay scale once earned 180 per cent of the average wage. That figure is now 140 per cent.

“Union contracts require that the best teachers earn the same as the worst. Teachers hit maximum pay after ten years and only earn more by taking on administrative work and spending less time teaching. It’s no wonder so few graduates are entering the profession, and experienced teachers are deserting it, when initiative and hard work are not rewarded.

“ACT’s Good Teacher Grants would provide almost $1 billion to schools that abandon union contracts. This would allow principals to replace bad teachers and pay the best teachers more. Good Teacher Grants would be funded by reducing wasteful, non-core government spending, like Fees-Free and the Provincial Growth Fund.

“Teaching isn’t seen as a viable career for our brightest graduates. Good Teacher Grants would elevate teaching as a profession, attract the best graduates, and keep the most capable teachers in the classroom.”