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Robbing Peter to bribe Paul

Robbing Peter to bribe Paul

Already struggling to match the pay and conditions of teachers in the kindergarten sector, employers in the rest of the early childhood sector have taken another body blow with the introduction this month of the new taxpayer funded retirement scheme for public servants.

Thanks to selective lobbying by NZEI, eligibility to the scheme includes registered teachers employed by free kindergarten associations. Whilst the dollar for dollar subsidy may be great news for these teachers and their employers (as the selective introduction of pay parity was), it can only make recruitment of teachers in the rest of the early childhood sector more difficult.

Oddly enough, free kindergarten associations are the only group of private employers whose staff are included in the coverage of the new scheme. Here again we have the misguided Minister of Education further deluding himself that he owns the free kindergartens and employs their staff.

One would wonder how any government could consider giving a commercial advantage of this sort to one group of employers over another in the same business.

Helen Clark and Trevor Mallard said their new retirement savings scheme meets two important government objectives, the building of a strong public service and promoting retirement savings amongst employees. They noted their scheme models the type of arrangements the government would like other employers to develop.

The government, the PSA, the Council of Trade Unions, and NZEI have been working together to develop the scheme over the last year. As with their push for pay parity for kindergarten teachers only, the NZEI have again shown their patent disregard for their members in the rest of the early childhood sector.

Effectively the excessively high taxes paid by those in the education and care sector are being used to subsidise the retirement savings of their colleagues employed by free kindergarten associations.

It is an utter cheek for Mallard to then say that he wants other employers to follow suit and fund retirement funds for their employees. First he under funds our sector, then he over taxes us so he can fund a retirement scheme for well paid public servants and selected other favourites, and then he wants us to be a good employer like he is and establish subsidised retirement schemes for our employees!

Don't we all wish we could afford to do so!

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