Thursday, 6 June 2019

Govt's reckless spending comes home to roost

“The Education Minister’s crisis talks with the teachers’ unions comes as he increases the number and pay packets of bureaucrats at the Ministry of Education”, ACT Leader David Seymour says.

“PPTA members begin five weeks of rolling strikes this week, but they’re out of luck because Mr Hipkins is more concerned with bureaucratic empire building and finding people to run his 13 education working groups.

“Despite claiming there is no more money for teachers, Mr Hipkins has over the past 12 months increased the number of bureaucrats at the Ministry of Education by 300 and is paying each and every staffer $2000 more on average.

The number of Ministry of Education staff increased from 2,632 to 2,904 between 2017 and 2018. The average salary rose from $82,612 to $84,900.

“The teacher pay crisis shows the Government’s reckless spending has come home to roost. Fees-Free and the Provincial Growth Fund have sucked billions away from core services and have been complete failures. This is the real reason why there is no money for teachers.

“Education in this country is a slowly moving disaster. The OECD tells us that, at age 16, one in six students is functionally illiterate and innumerate. Student test results are declining in international assessments. There is massive inequality in achievement, with Māori and Pasifika children falling behind.

“Teachers are the most important in-school influence on our students but the Government won’t pay them more because it has its priorities backward.

“A Government that was serious about the future of education in New Zealand would do away with poor-quality spending and pay teachers what they are worth.”