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Primary teachers reject latest pay offer from Ministry of Education, may strike next term

Primary school teachers and principals could hold a second national strike next term after rejecting the Government's latest pay offer of three per cent a year for most of them.

A secret online ballot on the offer for NZEI members closed last night and the union says they resoundingly rejected the Government’s latest collective agreement offers.

Tracey Martin says she hopes the NZEI and Ministry of Education will get back to the negotiating table. Source: 1 NEWS

NZEI President Lynda Stuart said members had sent a clear message that the offers did not address concerns about the growing teacher shortage, time to teach and support for children with additional learning needs.

"Teachers and principals are saying that they are disappointed by the Government's failure to deliver and they are resolute in their determination,"  Mrs Stuart said.

"Now we have the ballot result, the next step is in members' hands. They are discussing this online and in conversations in their workplaces," she said.

"At the NZEI Te Riu Roa Annual Conference at the end of this week, representatives will consider the compiled feedback about potential collective action and will make a recommendation about what we do in Term 4.  If further strike action is recommended, all affected members will vote on this early next term."

Close up shot of pencils in classroom
Source: Te Karere

The revised offer rejected by primary teachers included a three-year term from the date of settlement and an increase in the base salary scale by three per cent each year.

The NZEI says it included no provisions for reducing workloads or class sizes and no committed funding for supporting children with additional learning needs, such as funding a Special Education Needs Coordinator role in each school.

The Acting Minister of Education released a Draft Disability and Learning Support Plan last week which proposed an in-school Learning Support Coordinator  role, but funding is not yet committed, NZEI said.

The revised offer rejected by primary principals included a three percent salary increase each year for principals of schools with more than 100 students.

It included increases of 4.5%+4.5%+4.4% a year for principals of schools with fewer than 100 students.

Again there were no provisions to address workload, NZEI said.

Primary teachers and principals went on strike nationwide on August 15.

It's really disappointing - Acting Education Minister Tracey Martin

Acting Education Minister Tracey Martin says the teachers' rejection of the latest offer is really disappointing.

"We understand their frustration, but it's disappointing because we really want to get back together and move forward, we want to move education forward," she told reporters at Parliament.

Ms Martin says she's "slightly surprised" by the rejection.

"I mean this offer is a larger offer than all three offers put together that were accepted by the NZEI under the previous government."

Ms Martin says she hopes the NZEI and Ministry of Education "will get back to the table and work constructively together to try and come to some arrangement".

The Government has prioritised tertiary students over teachers - Nikki Kaye, National Education spokesperson
National's Nikki Kaye says the primary teachers' rejection of a pay offer is really disappointing, but understandable. Source: 1 NEWS

National's Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says the teachers' rejection of an offer a second time is really disappointing, but understandable as the Government has prioritised tertiary students over teachers.

"The Government has put forward a $2.8 billion tertiary package, which is equivalent to giving every teacher in New Zealand a 15 per cent pay rise," Ms Kaye told reporters. 

"So it's not right that they claim they haven't got the money. They've chosen to spend it on tertiary students instead of teachers," she said. 

"So our advice to the government is they need to step things up. It's not good for parents and children's learning to have multiple strikes. This is now the second time there's been a rejection. We haven't had primary teachers strikes in 24 years."

Primary teachers have rejected a revised pay offer from the Government. Source: 1 NEWS

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Winston Peters denies National Party claims he called Wally Haumaha after inquiry launched

The National Party is claiming Winston Peters called Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha to assure him "things would be okay" after an inquiry was launched into the process of his appointment. 

MP Chris Bishop used his Parliamentary privilege to claim links between NZ First and Mr Hauhama "go further" than his unsuccessful bid for NZ First candidacy in 2005.

"Winston Peters rang Wally Haumaha, after the inquiry into his appointment was announced. He gave him assurances, or words to that effect, that things would be okay.

"That is deeply, wildly inappropriate," Mr Bishop said. 

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters denies the claim.

In a statement Mr Peters says: "During Parliament’s General Debate this afternoon the National Party MP Chris Bishop claimed to have made a revelation related to the Haumaha inquiry. He hasn’t made a revelation and I’m swatting-off this midge right now.

"There is no basis to Mr Bishop’s claim that I rang Mr Haumaha after the inquiry into his appointment was announced, nor have provided any assurances on the matter. I have not called nor had any reason to call Mr Haumaha since the controversy.

"My office has checked all my phone records since the inquiry was announced. No such call was made.

"It is a matter of public record that this inquiry was initiated in my capacity as acting Prime Minister.

"The public can have faith in the inquiry. It was initiated by Cabinet, it is being conducted by a highly respected independent QC, and it will report back to Cabinet. The terms of reference have been publicly released. The final report will be made public.

"Regardless, any suggestion that New Zealand First Ministers are seeking to unduly influence this inquiry is baseless nonsense," says Mr Peters.

Background

There is currently an inquiry underway into the processes of the appointment of Wally Haumaha as Deputy Police Commissioner after comments he made defending police officers accused of rape in 2004 came to light.

Mr Haumaha has since apologised for the comments, saying they do not reflect his views.

There have also been accusations of bullying behaviour on a project Mr Haumaha was working on involving two women from the Justice Ministry and one from Corrections.

The incident reportedly led to the policy analysts walking out of Police National Headquarters and completing the project from their own respective offices.

The allegation was made in the House by Chris Bishop under the protection of Parliamentary privilege. Source: 1 NEWS

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Auckland Transport proposes 30km/h zone for city centre

Auckland Transport (AT) is looking at lowering speeds in the city centre, in a move they say will "improve road safety for the large number of people walking, cycling and living in the area."

They have proposed a 30km/h zone around the CBD which will be consulted on as part of a speed bylaw review in November.

AT says the move is part of its work to improve road safety in Auckland, where one person dies and two are seriously injured on the roads each week.

AT's Group Manager Network Management and Safety, Randhir Karma, says many of the crashes in the city centre involve vulnerable road users.

"Eighty-four per cent of all crashes involve vulnerable road users. Nearly half of the crashes involve people walking and this is not acceptable.

"If a person walking is hit by a vehicle travelling at 30km, the chance of dying is 10 per cent. At 50km, the chance of dying is 80 per cent," he says.

AT say they're currently determining the exact locations for the start of the lower speed limit and what physical changes would need to be implemented.  

Auckland CBD Source: Seven Sharp


Rising jet fuel prices could lower Air New Zealand's profit

High jet fuel prices could be affect Air New Zealand's profits in 2019. 

Recent changes in jet fuel prices have outpaced the $US85 ($NZ127.35) per barrel Air New Zealand had assumed in it's financial year earnings for 2019, chairman Tony Carter said today.

"As we look forward to the year ahead, we are optimistic about market dynamics and demand trends, but note that the current levels of jet fuel price will be a headwind on profitability compared to the prior year," Mr Carter told Reuters.

Airline companies around the globe are expected to be affected financially, with jet fuel prices rising to $US93.81 ($NZ140.57) per barrel.

As a result of higher fuel prices, pretax profit was expected to fall up to 21 per cent from $540 million in 2017 in the current financial year, according to Air New Zealand.

The airline's shares have also fallen 1.6 percent to a seven-month low in the market.

An Air New Zealand plane.