A recent decision by the Minister of Education to hold back pay parity for ECE teachers needs changing urgently, the Green Party says.
Documents released by the Treasury show that it warned the government not to fully fund parity in the Budget in May to stay within a spending envelope.
“Even in the middle of an inequality crisis, the Minister of Education put accounting priorities ahead of making sure early childhood teachers could make ends meet. The Government needs to pay early childhood teachers what they deserve,” says Teanau Tuiono, the Green Party’s spokesperson for education.
“If ever there was an example of how political choices impact people’s lives, this is it. The Government looked at the cost of pay parity for early childhood teachers, decided it was too much, so cut back funding.
“Put simply, it looked at teachers and saw only a cost. But the contribution they make to society and our whānau and their tamariki is much, much greater than that.
“Despite knowing early childhood is an underpaid sector, governments past and present have used this type of accounting to take advantage of the commitment of teachers.
Governments ask teachers to work for less because they don't want to ask the ultra-wealthy to pay more tax. The Green Party remains the only party with a plan to rebalance this system so it works for everyone.
“It’s only fair that teachers with the same qualifications, skills and responsibilities get the same pay as teachers in kindergartens and schooling.
“We are facing a critical shortage of teachers in ECE, not least because of low pay. It’s imperative the government fully fund pay parity in Budget 2023.
“Not only do we need to urgently pay early childhood teachers what they deserve, we also need to completely rethink how we value the work of teachers - and, for that matter, nurses, caregivers, social workers, firefighters… the list goes on. If the sector is underpaid, it needs a rethink.
“There also needs to be a massive change in the way we raise revenue in New Zealand to pay for high quality public services. Right now the Government has tied its own hands with its arbitrary ruling out new taxes.
“The Green Party remains the only party with a revenue plan that can support our public services and address inequality. With more MPs we can push for a fairer tax system that can pay essential workers like early childhood teachers what they deserve,” says Teanau Tuiono.