February 4, 2005
It’s ACT MP Deborah Coddington Who’s Wrong
ACT MP Deborah Coddington is wrong when she asserts NZEI Te Riu Roa National President, Colin Tarr, is misleading early childhood teachers about the government’s commitment to extending pay parity among early childhood teachers.
Mr Tarr stated in October last year that the government has committed to funding the pay increases that will lift the pay rates for early childhood teachers covered by the Consenting Parties collective agreement to the same level as primary and secondary teachers by 2008.
The fact is the money for these pay increases will be provided in additional government funding that early childhood education centres will receive from July this year. In a media release yesterday Miss Coddington claimed this can not be correct because the government does not directly fund salaries for early childhood teachers and does not negotiate collective agreements for early childhood teachers other than kindergarten teachers.
“The points she is making are disingenuous and irrelevant and do not mean my October statement is incorrect,” says Colin Tarr.
The fact is the government provides all of the money used to pay kindergarten teachers’ salaries. It’s given to their employers, kindergarten associations, who pay their actual salaries. In the case of the early childhood teachers covered by the Consenting Parties collective agreement, the government provides the bulk of the money used to pay their salaries, with the rest coming from fees charged to parents.
As far as the negotiation of the collective agreements goes, the kindergarten teachers’ agreement is negotiated by the Ministry of Education on behalf of the kindergarten associations and the NZEI. While the Consenting Parties collective agreement is negotiated by the teachers’ employers and the NZEI.
The key point is the government provides the bulk of the money used for the teachers’ salaries. When The Budget was delivered on May 27 last year, the Education Minister, Trevor Mallard, gave a briefing on the government’s new funding system for the early childhood sector.
A key feature of the system is that from April 1 this year, the government will ensure that it will provide the money to cover the cost of employing additional qualified early childhood teachers required by the government and of eventually giving them pay parity with primary and secondary teachers. At the briefing Mr Mallard stated “Parity is coming.”
Under collective agreements negotiated by NZEI, kindergarten teachers pay rates are rising and they will achieve parity in July 2006. The Consenting Parties teachers’ collective agreement delivers them parity in 2008.
“It’s a shame that the ACT education spokesperson doesn’t take the time to get her facts straight before making scurrilous and quite incorrect statements,” says Colin Tarr.
“Unlike Miss Coddington, NZEI continues to work with the government, the Ministry of Education, the New Zealand Childcare Association and any other agency or group that is committed to providing quality early childhood education for the children of New Zealand,” says Colin Tarr.