The figures in the latest Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) annual Education at a Glance report found New Zealand spends a comparatively large share of its national wealth on educational institutions.

Findings show New Zealand spent nearly 5 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on education in 2016, making it the top country in the OECD in terms of total expenditure on pre-tertiary education institutions as a percentage of GDP. 

 

The finding relates to funds spent on primary, secondary and all Level 1 - 4 study done at educational institutions, but excludes tertiary education.

The OECD average on total expenditure on pre-tertiary education institutions amounts to 3.5 per cent of GDP.

Total spend on early childhood education and care (ECEC) is also high in New Zealand, with 1 per cent of GDP dedicated to ECEC services compared to 0.8 per cent on average across the OECD.

Whilst investment in national wealth on education remains high, teachers’ statutory salaries in New Zealand stagnate relatively early in their careers compared to other OECD countries.

Statutory teacher salaries for New Zealand primary and secondary school teachers start low, but increase faster than the OECD average. However, by the time teachers reach the end of their careers, this pattern reverses.

 

The statutory starting salary for primary school teachers in New Zealand was $30,890 (USD) in 2018, below the OECD average of $33,058.

After 15 years of experience, the statutory salary for primary teachers in New Zealand was $47,311, above the OECD average of $45,947.

For secondary school teachers in New Zealand, the statutory starting salary was $31,894 in 2018, below the OECD average of $35,859.

After 15 years in the workforce, the statutory salary for secondary teachers in New Zealand was $48,589, slightly below the OECD average of $49,804.

The data on teacher salaries in the Education at a Glance 2019 report is based on New Zealand’s education workforce in
2017 and 2018, and therefore reflects the previous collective agreements. The new salary bands and working conditions will be reflected in Education at a Glance 2020 and later publications.