Media Releases

Principals vote in favour of a work ban

06 Apr 2023

Primary and area school principals across Aotearoa New Zealand have voted in favour of a work ban until they receive an offer from the Ministry of Education that addresses their ongoing serious concerns. The work ban will begin on 8am on Monday 24 April, the first day of term two.

The principals, members of NZEI Te Riu Roa, confirmed the industrial action after a vote was put to ballot which closed last night. NZEI Te Riu Roa member principals cover the significant majority of all principals in primary and area schools.

“The results of the vote tell you what you need to know; our members have had enough,” said Lynda Stuart, the negotiating team lead for primary principals.

“The Government hasn’t listened to us, so we are taking action. The work of school leadership simply isn’t sustainable and what we are seeking is greater support to help us do that work. We need the long-standing issues around pay disparity to be addressed to ensure that we can attract great leaders into our schools.”

Negotiations for the new agreements started in the middle of last year, with area and primary school principals rejecting a second offer from the government in February. Principals joined teachers from primary, area and secondary schools, alongside kindergarten teachers, in an historic one-day strike on 16 March.

The work ban will include a pause on all work that principals normally do with the Ministry. This includes any work on introducing or implementing any new Ministry initiative such as the Curriculum Refresh, or collecting or collating any information for the Ministry. It also includes any work outside 8am to 5pm weekdays apart from board meetings, and all work on weekends.

The work ban does not include liaising with Ministry of Education Learning Support specialist staff who support specific students, property staff or the roll out of the Aotearoa New Zealand histories curriculum.

“Like with the strike, these are not actions we take lightly,” said Stuart. “We want to do our jobs and do our jobs well, but we need things to change and we need that change now.”


Notes to editor

The work ban applies to principals in primary and area schools, who come under the Primary Principals Collective Agreement and the Area Schools Collective Agreement.

The full list of the work ban actions is available here.