'There isn't really a bad teacher shortage' - Bill English denies $379m education package is unrealistic

National leader Bill English has flatly denied any sort of New Zealand teacher shortage will hinder implementing the full scope of his ambitious new $379 million education package.

Speaking to Hillary Barry on TVNZ 1's Breakfast today, Mr English said "actually, there isn’t really a bad teacher shortage" existing in New Zealand, and National's plans to enable all primary school students to learn a second language was realistic.

"We believe it is [achievable], if we use all the tools," Mr English said.

The National leader would not accept the notion of a New Zealand teacher shortage, saying staffing demand was a seasonal issue. 

"At this time of the year with the winter effects it's always a bit of a pressure on schools, no doubt about that," Mr English said.

Mr English gave the example of "network learning online", of linking up many classrooms across different locations to one teacher, as a way of facilitating nationwide second language classes for students.

Winston Peters repaid the social development agency after discovering he'd been given too much. Source: Breakfast

"You can easily see that model developing for language teaching," Mr English said.

"I think we'll find there are people with language expertise who've gone off and worked somewhere else, in PTE's or tertiary institutions who would love the opportunity to come back.

"So you've got to create a pathway for people there." 

Mr English said paying teachers more to entice them into under-staffed subjects, like maths, was also one of "various schemes" possible if required.

The National Party leader denied that there won't be enough teachers to implement his ambitious new $379 million education package. Source: Breakfast