Media Releases

Pay parity in ECE needs long term commitment

31 Aug 2023

ECE teachers welcome today’s announcement of funding to match the pay increases won by their colleagues in kindergarten and schooling. However, NZEI Te Riu Roa says that the Government’s decision to kick the can down the road on guaranteeing funding to maintain future pay parity in the future is deeply disappointing.

Union leader, Megan White, an ECE Centre Manager at Capital Kids Cooperative in Wellington, says that if there are not systems in place to maintain parity long term, ECE teachers will continue to fall behind in pay compared to their colleagues in primary and secondary teaching.

“We have lots of experienced and hard working kaiako, who I’m really excited will be able to receive the pay increase they deserve later this year. But the refusal to confirm funding for future pay increases to maintain parity across teaching means there’s no certainty here for them as teachers – or for me trying to balance the budget of our centre.

“It puts my mind at ease that the rates will finally be published tomorrow and my centre can factor them in, but this sort of uncertainty doesn’t enable long-term planning or provide security to our kaiako.

“Fair pay for ECE teachers is one of those things that shouldn’t have to be litigated every year; the Government has said they believe in pay parity, if that’s the case then why can’t they commit to maintaining it?”

NZEI Te Riu Roa is now calling for all political parties in the lead up to the Election to confirm that they will continue to fund pay parity for ECE kaiako.

“We want to have clarity and certainty that no matter the outcome of this Election our mahi will continue to be valued – at the moment, that isn’t clear from any party,” says Megan White.

Alongside the funding announcement, the Government announced a review of the current, outdated, funding model. This is a necessary task, and NZEI Te Riu Roa has long called for structural changes to funding for the sector to ensure transparency and accountability of public funds, and to prioritise quality provision of ECE over profits. The voice of kaiako and kaimahi in ECE in a funding review will be crucial to see meaningful change to the sector.