Update on NZEI Primary Principals’ and Teachers’ Bargaining

Please attribute to Ellen MacGregor-Reid, Deputy Secretary for Early Learning and Student Achievement

“We offered to recommence negotiations with NZEI Te Riu Roa at the end of last year, and were available in December and through January. We were pleased they accepted this offer in February.

“Over the last two weeks we have met for mediated bargaining talks to negotiate an offer within the total $698 million package available to reach a settlement, which the Employment Relations Authority has described as ‘handsome and competitive’. 

“NZEI were advised before negotiations started that we would be bargaining within this amount, whereas their claims would cost $2.5 billion.

“During these talks we repackaged the settlement offer to present two new options for primary teachers, to further meet NZEI’s pay and workload concerns, and a new option for primary principals.

“The pay offer made to primary teachers in November 2018 would have seen 19,000 teachers getting an average increase of around $10,000 after 24 months. One of the new options would introduce the additional pay step at the top of the base scale - offered in November – a full year earlier.  This would mean that after 12 months, around 9,700 teachers currently on the maximum step of the base salary scale would receive an increase of nearly $7,000, up from just over $4,500 under the previous timing.  

“The other option provides 10 hours of additional classroom release time, per year for three years to the majority of primary teachers, in addition to the November pay offers.

“Under the new offer all 2,000 primary principals would receive the pay offer made to them in November, which would see them receive at least a 3 percent pay rise each year for three years. In addition for principals of smaller schools with 100 children or less under the new offer will benefit from 10 hours per term additional classroom release time.

“The Government has extensive initiatives underway to address workload including an extra $500 million for learning support, $40 million to boost teacher supply, and has already removed National Standards.” 

Notes to editors:

For more information on the offer visit Our revised offers to primary teachers and principals - Factsheet.

Primary teacher retention rates continue to remain high at over 90%. 

Recent information suggests that the number of people training to be teachers (ITE enrolments) have increased from 2017 to 2018 by 330 (8%), and look likely to have increased again this year.

In November 2018, the Employment Relations Authority described the $698 million offer as ‘handsome and competitive’. The Authority also acknowledged the commitment of the Government to working with teachers to gradually address the sector’s needs. 


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