Media Releases

Large scale cuts at education ministry will have negative impacts on schools and children

17 Apr 2024

New Zealand’s largest education union, NZEI Te Riu Roa, says that the large scale of the job cuts in the Ministry of Education will undermine critical support to schools and early childhood education services, and will have a negative impact on teachers and children.

Mark Potter, president of NZEI Te Riu Roa, says the cuts will affect both the daily running of schools and early childhood education services, and will make support for students even more difficult to access.

“The scale of these cuts are devastating to Ministry staff and we send a message of support and aroha to them.

“What we can see is that the services that support schools and students within the Ministry are being slashed. 

"Cuts to staff ensuring best practice approaches to support children by speech language therapists, early intervention teachers and other specialist staff, cuts to school lunch programme staff, cuts to the experts designing the delivery of services for Māori and Pasifika students and those developing our world-leading curriculum, cuts in direct support and expert advice for schools around the day-to-day management of schools and early childhood education services; take your pick, these cuts will all impact ultimately on teaching and learning in the classroom.”

“These cuts have been sold by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance as necessary so they can make good on promised tax cuts. What we see are cuts that will potentially have huge impacts on education and students for years to come.”

Innovative programmes such as Te Hurihanganui, which help to build community solutions to support success for Māori learners, and other programmes to improve outcomes for Pasifika learners, ākonga with disabilities and migrant and refugee children have been cut or de-funded completely.

The reform of learning support to children with the highest needs, known as the Highest Needs Review, also appears to be dead in the water.

“Cuts like this will be a huge blow to the disability community. We have a dire problem with learning support in Aotearoa and significant numbers of ākonga are missing out or have unmet needs. Learning support interventions for ākonga offers one of the best returns you can find on social investment. These cuts are a real sign that the Government’s investment plans do not lie with education or with children.”