ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary Education

ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary EducationLead advisor on early childhood care and education 
National membership 

Publisher of the New Zealand-International Research in Early Childhood Journal


Funding and Pay special issue Early Childhood Alert No 16, 2019

We hope the school holidays have started well for you. The newsletter this week is a special issue on funding and teacher pay. Teacher pay has now become the Number One issue in our sector alongside ensuring children's safety.  

The campaign for ECE Teacher Pay Parity has now officially started!

“The benefits of ECE to children – and to society – depend on having a high quality workforce. 
No teacher working in ECE should be paid less than teachers in kindergartens and schools”

We are proud to release a new book on everything you need to know on pay issues and funding and what to do to make change happen. 
Copies are free - email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Or go to the campaign page here to view and print a copy  


1.  Funding to pay your qualified and certificated teachers 

Would your centre or home-based ECE service welcome funding at rates that matched what kindergartens are being paid and the increases kindergartens are already scheduled to get over the coming year and more?  e.g. max 20-Hours ECE funding $13.56 per child per hour from 1 July 2020, or under-2s $14.38 per child per hour

If your answer is YES!  ???? then, go now to the My ECE Facebook page by clicking here for the post and to add your service's name to the list


2.  Petition

Sign the petition for Pay Parity  

Please encourage all teachers, parents, whānau and the wider community to sign this petition.


3.  Poster

Share the poster on your organisation's social media pages and in your local community  pdfPoster


4. Campaign page

Go to the online page to find out more and see what else you can do:  ECE Teacher Pay Campaign page 

The government has applied equality of remuneration for kindergarten, primary and secondary teachers. Not extending the same respect to all teachers in ECE through the provision of pay parity is producing an exodus of teaching staff and employer demands for foreign labour and for a loosening of qualification requirements. We are also seeing a rise of stop-gap measures such as daily reliance on relief teachers to cover staff vacancies and also unqualified staff forced to take on the duties of certificated teachers.

In 2020 pay levels on the basic scale for beginning teachers in kindergartens and schools will rise to $49,862 and $51,984 for Steps 1 and 2 respectively. The top of the scale for a teacher with no leadership responsibilities is currently $80,500 and this is increasing to $90,000 (or $43.27 an hour) in 2021.

Home-based services required to have certificated teachers (persons responsible for co-ordination) and parent-led services such as Playcentre that choose to employ certificated teachers to help meet the person responsible requirements, are not even funded enough to allow for the ministry to set attestation rates for teacher salaries.


5. Slippage in the quality of ECE has become a serious worry

Quality teaching is a key lever for improving outcomes for diverse children (Alexander and Ministry of Education, 2003) and quality teachers are central to this.

Andreas Schleicher Director for Education and Skills at the OECD, notes in a report presented to the 2019 International Summit on the Teaching Profession, that to attract and hold on to the most suitable candidates for early childhood teaching one of the most important things countries need to do is to offer adequate pay.

There is evidence that low salaries can deter skilled professionals from choosing to work in ECE. Salaries can affect ECE teacher job satisfaction and increase turnover rates.

High teacher turnover and experiencing a succession of different relief teachers over weeks and even months is harmful to children’s mental health and intellectual development. 


6. How funded pay parity can be very easily achieved

We have all seen the recent strikes in the primary and secondary area regarding pay and you probably watched and paid close attention to what happened.  The Minister of Education was adamant that teachers should drop their demands because there was no more money.

But as the teachers persisted and public support for primary and secondary teachers grew the Minister of Education gave in. Secondary school principals held out for more and they got it. The Education Minister did not say he was working on it, and they would have to see whether he could secure more funding in next year's government budget!  

It was no surprise that almost immediately following primary and secondary teacher acceptance of the government’s offer, the Ministry of Education confirmed pay parity with primary would continue for teachers in kindergartens. Negotiation of a new collective agreement for kindergarten teachers with kindergarten employers took just a week. 

The Labour-Led Coalition Government has an “ambition to ensure all New Zealanders do well but especially our children” (Prime Minister Jacinda Arden Speech, 30 May 2019).  Ask Prime Minister Jacinda Arden and Education Minister Chris Hipkins what they are doing to get pay parity for all teachers in ECE. Don’t accept the excuse that it would cost too much – they have shown in regard to other teacher groups that money can be found when pressure is applied. Ask them why in regard to ECE there should even be a need for pressure and why are they are not taking responsibility for putting things right.

Until such time as the funding system is overhauled, pay parity can be  implemented now using a very simple mechanism that already exists – attestation of certificated teacher salaries.   

There is nothing to prevent the Ministry of Education from raising or changing the current salary attestation rates to at least the same levels as in the KTCA as agreed by the Ministry of Education for pay parity.  


7. Campaign Booklet

Get your copy here:  pdfECE Teacher Pay Book

1. The Lead-Up to the Campaign for Pay Parity
2. The Problem

2.1. Having a qualified workforce brings with it demands for higher wages reflective of qualification and professional status 
2.2. Teachers are subsidising ECE
2.3. Current pay levels 
2.4. Why would anyone want to spend a lot of time and money to become a qualified teacher and work in ECE today?
2.5. Slippage in the quality of ECE has become a serious worry 
2.6. Current methods and policy are failing 
3. The Solution 
3.1. Improve salary attestation rates 
3.2. Make sure funding for pay parity results in pay parity 
4. What Cannot Help as Much as We Might Want to Believe 
4.1. Joining a union 
4.2. The Government’s 10-year ECE strategic plan 
4.3. The re-introduction of a funding band for 100% qualified and certificated teachers and the exacerbation of inequity
5. A Teacher is a Teacher 
5.1. Why lower pay is not about gender or work role
5.2. Where is NZEI Te Riu Roa on campaigning for pay parity?
5.3. Are kindergartens fundamentally different to other services in ECE?
6. Summary
7. Concluding Comment

1. Salary attestation rates 
2. Pay parity rates
3. Kindergarten teacher working conditions 
4. Current funding rates by service type 
5. Glossary 


Go to the website for information on funding rates for different services, employing relievers, health and safety and much much more. 
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