“The Education Minister’s desperate call for crisis talks with the teachers’ unions comes as he is boosting the number and pay of back office bureaucrats at the Ministry of Education”, ACT Leader David Seymour says.
“PPTA members begin five weeks of rolling strikes from next week, but they may be out of luck because Hipkins is more concerned with finding people to run his 13 education working groups.
“Despite his cries of poverty, over the past 12 months Mr Hipkins has managed to increase the number of bureaucrats at the Ministry of Education by 300 and pay every employee $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 Government’s wasteful spending has also come home to roost.
“Fees-Free pays the tuition of children from well-off families who would have gone to university anyway, but it has failed to expand access to tertiary education. The Provincial Growth Fund is delivering marginal projects and votes to NZ First, but little else.
“This is why there is no money for teachers.
“Education in this country is in real trouble. The OECD tells us 17 per cent of children don’t meet basic literacy standards. Student results are declining in international assessments. There is massive inequality in achievement, with Māori and Pasifika 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.”