30 January 2017

The commitment by Labour and Green leaders to properly fund education for all children has established education as a core election issue for voters this year, NZEI Te Riu Roa says.

In their State of the Nation speeches yesterday, Labour leader Andrew Little, and Green co-leader Metiria Turei made clear commitments to delivering for children and communities and ensuing schools get the funding they need, without having to "beg" parents for donations.

"Teachers see these commitments as a powerful stake in the sand this election year, and a challenge to the Government to fix the chronic underfunding that's denying some children the opportunities of a world-class public education," NZEI president Lynda Stuart said.

"New Zealand has an enormous opportunity this year to make real gains for our children, starting with education.

"Principals are already planning to cut teacher and support staff hours this year and hike parent donations, to cope with the Government's freeze on core school funding. Meanwhile, per-child funding for Early Childhood Education has been frozen for seven years and driven children into lower-quality, cheaper to run services.

"Labour and the Greens' commitment to education, means New Zealanders who want to see the right of Kiwi kids to a quality public education restored will have a real choice this year.

"While funding is crucial, teachers also call on all parties to listen to the profession's concerns about other policies brought in over the past nine years, like national standards, charter schools, and the move towards privatisation.

"New Zealand can afford to provide the best education in the world.

"This year, we call on all parties to prioritise children, over tax cuts, so every child has the opportunity to achieve their dreams through education," Mrs Stuart said.