The Government's proposed settlement will give primary school teachers pay parity with their secondary colleagues, and includes a base salary increase by at least 18.5 per cent by July 2021.

The settlement follows 18 months of campaigning (for better pay and working conditions) by teachers and three strike days, including New Zealand's largest ever education strike on May 29.

In a statement released this morning, NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said the outcome was a big win for teachers.

"I am so proud of our teachers for their steadfast collective action in this campaign over a very long period of time," she said.

"We didn’t get everything we wanted for teachers, but we made substantial progress. We've secured pay parity through a unified pay scale across the state schooling sector.

“We've won a significant pay increase for primary teachers. We've addressed longstanding barriers to pay progression for teachers with different qualifications.

"We've won eight teacher only days and a reduction in some of the more burdensome appraisal requirements."

Primary principals, however, have rejected the Government’s offers and will continue their fight towards better pay and working conditions.

"Crucially, while teachers have won parity with their secondary counterparts, the Government did not offer primary principals parity with their secondary principal colleagues. That clearly isn’t fair, so they have voted to fight on for a better offer," Stuart said.

"Primary principals have incredibly complex jobs, and we have significant issues in our smaller schools, particularly our rural schools and kura. We also have a very high number of first time principals, as experienced hands have left the profession."

The Ministry of Education welcomed the vote taken by primary teachers, but was disappointed with the outcome for principals.

“Primary teachers and principals told us that to retain and attract people into the profession and stabilise the workforce we needed to restore pay parity for teachers,” Secretary for Education Iona Holsted said in a statement.

"Thirty-thousand primary teachers will now benefit from significant pay increases, with maximum base salaries rising to $90,000 from July 2021.”

While Holsted said the Ministry were disappointed with the outcome for principals, she said they were ready to reopen discussions.

“We’re disappointed primary principals have rejected the substantial offer made to them,” Holsted said.

“In rejecting the offer, over 1900 primary principals have walked away from an immediate $1500 payment and pay rises on July 1 of up to 13 per cent for over 500 principals.

“These principals are in our smaller schools of fewer than 100 students. Principals in these schools would have moved to a minimum salary of $102,898 after three years - an extra $15,000.

“We remain available to meet with NZEI to discuss how the offer could be repackaged within the existing envelope for primary principals,” Holsted said.

She said they were also ready to “resolve complex issues in the education system, such as workload and the future education workforce”.

Stuart said she's encouraged moving forward.

"We also got a commitment from Government to work on the outstanding issues of wellbeing and workload – the accord will enable us to work with the Government and hold them to account on these issues," she said.

  • More information on the proposed settlements for primary teachers and principals can be found here.