Media Releases

Big steps for our smallest citizens

18 May 2023

NZEI Te Riu Roa, the country’s largest education union, welcomes the $1.8 billion investment in Budget 2023 to fund full pay parity for early childhood education (ECE) teachers and the extension of 20hrs free ECE to all 2-year-olds.

Geena Fagan, an NZEI Te Riu Roa national leader and an early childhood teacher from Otago, said that the boost in parity funding to full kindergarten teacher rates was a historic win for ECE teachers, who had been fighting for parity for three decades.

She said the extension of 20 hours ECE free to 2-year-olds would improve access and make ECE more affordable for whānau.

"Full parity gives us the foundation for our next steps in ECE. We're excited to now work together for a fair pay agreement that will lock in this win. Improving teacher to child ratios is the next significant goal for ECE teachers to ensure all tamariki get the best start in life."