Today’s announcement of mega strikes at schools will be tough on students and parents who have already lost days of learning and work, National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“I have said before it is crucial the Government provide a circuit breaker to resolve this . Labour created huge expectations with the sector by over promising.
“The mega strike will see the largest ever industrial action by New Zealand teachers, covering almost 50,000 members across the two unions.
“Teachers are telling me they don’t believe Education Minister Chris Hipkins and the Prime Minister when they say ‘there is no more money’ given the spending announcements that have been made over the past 12 months.
“National left Labour growing surpluses. Budget 2019 will involve a massive education spend. However if we can’t get teachers in classrooms people will question Labour’s priorities.
“Some of Labour’s big promises include scrapping donations, modernising all school buildings, digital devices, driver licenses and financial literacy for students and learning support coordinators in schools.
“They are a year late on their donations promise and they are only committing to funding this term for a small proportion of learning support coordinators promised.
“We have said before that Labour has favoured tertiary students by using more than $2 billion on a failed fees free policy. With people predicting Tomorrow’s Schools reforms could cost hundreds of millions, tens of millions being spent on education reviews people are saying to me the urgent need is pay and workload.
“Recent announcements around teacher training are less effective if we can’t get pay and workload issues addressed because we won’t have teachers in the classroom. National supports lowering teacher ratios which the Government should move on to help settle the dispute.
“Children’s learning is suffering and people lives are being disrupted. This standoff needs to be resolved. Labour need to prioritise teachers to resolve the dispute.”