Media Releases

Cost-of-living still above any potential pay offer

25 Jan 2023

Cost of living pressures will remain a key concern for kindergarten and primary teachers and principals as they grapple with a Government offer to settle their collective employment agreements.

The public sector pay offer on the table for most teachers and principals comes well under the annual rate of inflation of 7.2% announced today.

“People are hurting with the cost of living so high,” NZEI Te Riu Roa President Mark Potter said. “This affects everyone in the economy. We want teaching to be seen as a valuable and valued role.

"That can’t happen if the job is not paid at sustainable levels."

Almost 30,000 members covered by the five agreements rejected the Government’s first offer before Christmas last year.

Mr Potter added that there were also concerns around what many economists and the Reserve Bank are predicting could be a tough year on the financial front.

Another significant rise in the official cash rate is expected next month, which will put pressure on homeowners’ mortgages and likely see landlords increase rents.

“Like most people in Aotearoa, home ownership is a tough ask for educators, while younger teachers typically are renters,” Mr Potter said.

“It’s already hard to find decent, affordable rental accommodation in our larger cities, so it will be difficult to attract and retain teachers and support staff in places like Auckland and Wellington if interest rates continue to rise.

“We would think the Government should be doing all they can to make the profession attractive to younger people and sustainable for experienced teachers.”

Mr Potter added while dealing with the cost of living was a major issue for educators, they were still campaigning on reducing teacher-student classroom ratios so that tamariki get the education they deserve, increasing support for school principals and ensuring greater resourcing for children with high learning needs.