'We want to fix this' - teachers union says today's nationwide strike is a 'symptom of under-funding'

The head of primary school teacher union NZEI TE Riu Roa says today's strike action across the country is a symptom of underfunding in the sector.

Teachers are preparing for a full-day strike today for the first time in 24 years over a pay rise and a bid for smaller class sizes.

The union says that means 27,745 teachers and 1827 principals won't be at work.

More than 1200 schools will be closing when primary school teachers walk off the job. Source: 1 NEWS

Union head Lynda Stuart, speaking this morning to TVNZ 1's Breakfast, said there is a real struggle to attract people into teaching, and to keep them there.

"We're really struggling within education at the moment with primary teaching and secondary teaching," Ms Stuart said.

"People have got lots of options when they leave school ... they can go into all sorts of different things and teaching just isn't attracting them.

"This is a symptom of underfunding.

"We're marching across this country because our kids are that important to us."

Now, parents must work out what to do with their children on Wednesday. Source: 1 NEWS

The union is seeking a 16 per cent pay rise across the board, she said, as well as smaller class sizes and more support available for teachers to deal with challenging students or those with learning difficulties.

Offers made by the government were unacceptable for more experienced teachers, she said.

"For those people at the top end of the scale it's certainly not a significant enough shift," Ms Stuart said.

"They have huge experience in the classroom and we want to acknowledge that moving forward ... we want a significant pay jolt for everyone."

Ms Stuart said the decision to strike now, after a wave of industrial actions by other unions this year, was not to do with the Labour Government coming into power.

She said teachers had numerous "fights" with the National government over issues like national standards and class sizes, and that it was simply the right time.

"This was going to have to happen," she said.

"When you are government it is your responsibility to fix what you see in front of you ... and it's time to fix this."

"We're really clear about the solutions we bring to the table for negotiation."

The Ministry of Education has said it values the work of principals and teacher immensely, and that reaching a settlement is a priority, but also that they are disappointed with the action.

Spokesperson Ellen MacGregor-Reid said "we are disappointed the union has decided to take strike action while we are still in the negotiating process".

"Both parties wish to explore every possible avenue to reach an agreement ... we will continue to negotiate in good faith," Ms MacGregor-Reid said.

Lynda Stuart of NZEI Te Riu Roa says it is increasingly difficult to attract and retain good teachers. Source: Breakfast



Watch: Winston Peters accuses Paula Bennett of asking 'mindless questions' and diving into 'moronic abyss' during Question Time

Winston Peters accused Paula Bennett of asking "mindless questions" and diving into a "moronic abyss" during Question Time today.

His comments came as National's deputy leader was quizzing Mr Peters, who was answering on behalf of the Prime Minister, on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill in the House today.

"Can she confirm that the Labour-led Government unanimously voted for the bill at select committee and the bill has now been prepared for a second reading, and do they know how they will vote for it?" Ms Bennett asked the deputy prime minister.

"On behalf of the prime minister, if that member will not conform to the proper language of an MMP environment we do not intend to answer her mindless questions.

"She knows full well the construction, we can handle it and that's why were here and that's why they're over there, because they just don't grasp what the new environment looks like," Mr Peters answered.

Ms Bennett was then given a warning by Speaker Trevor Mallard for prefacing her follow up by implying that Mr Peters led the Government instead of Ms Ardern.

She went on to try and get more answers about the bill, asking: "Does the govt support the employment relations amendment bill as it is currently written?"

Mr Peters again went on the attack in his answer.

"Look we're not going to have a dive to the moronic abyss that the member wants to go to.

"We are talking about a process of the full committee of the House and then onto the third reading, that's whats being targeted that's what we'll do."
 


Construction worker injured in workplace accident above Auckland's city centre

A construction worker has been injured in an accident on top of a construction site in Auckland’s city centre.

One person was transport to Auckland Hospital in a moderate condition, said St John spokesperson Mark Deoki.

Two fire department vehicles were also sent to the scene, near the intersection of Victoria St West and Graham Street.


St John Ambulance (file picture).
St John Ambulance (file picture). Source: St John.

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Māori youth labelled 'plastic': 'I'm not Māori enough but I'm not white'

Young Māori have spoken out about being labelled "plastic" because they can't speak the language - saying the hurtful term is used to imply they're fake or less Māori.

This week we've seen New Zealanders everywhere embracing te reo, sharing their stories, and encouraging others to learn the language.

But for many Māori who can't speak it, Te Wiki o te Reo Māori can be a stark reminder of the guilt and shame they feel not knowing their own language.

Eve Duncan Spring is from the iwi of Ngāruahine, but she's never learned how to speak her language.

Growing up it wasn't spoken in her home, and it wasn't offered as a language at the schools she went to.

"Where do I fit because if I say I'm Māori I'm not Māori enough but I'm not white, so if anything it just makes me sad," she said.

According to the 2013 census, just over 127,000 Māori can hold a conversation in te reo.

For Emma Brown, from Ngāpuhi, Māori was her first language as she went to Kohanga Reo.

But she was then enrolled into mainstream education for the rest of her schooling.

Now, she said, she could hold a conversation with a 5-year-old - anyone older and she feels out of her depth.

"We stopped using it around home and obviously stopped speaking Māori at school.

"I found that the better I got going through the westernised education system, the less I was able to retain that Māori that I learnt as a young kid."

She said through high school she often seemed worlds apart from the other Māori.

She had different interests from her peers, she enjoyed physics and she didn't hang out at the school marae.

As a result she was labelled 'plastic' by them, a term which still makes her angry.

"I don't know who came up with the standard."

"I've never heard a Pākehā be called plastic, but it's applied to every other culture like we've got standards to meet that someone else set for us."

Both Ms Duncan Spring and Ms Brown said the main reason they're not able to speak Māori has been their surroundings.

'It comes from within'

Jaymi Hirawani McTaggart had the same experience and she said she has been called plastic several times.

That's further complicated by her Pākehā-Chinese father and his stance on learning te reo Māori.

"I actually got discouraged by a couple of people. There's a outlook about it like 'it's not a global language, why's it so important to learn?' My dad was like, 'you should learn mandarin'."

However not everyone around them has been judgemental.

Tumanako Fa'aui said despite not being able to speak Māori he has had support from his elders.

"I've had enough kaumātua and fairly influential people tell me that it comes from within, it shouldn't be what's on the outside.

"You're Māori because of your whakapapa, it's not something for someone else to tell you."

Despite the label and the names, they're all taking steps to learn their reo. They've enrolled in courses and are learning from those around them who speak Māori.

Ms Brown said she still needs to put in more effort.

"We did a course at Unitec, the free Māori courses. My nana was fluent and my dad is so there are opportunities around for me to learn."

Mr Fa'aui said speaking with his mum at home has been the biggest help.

"I've been doing correspondence te reo courses and my mum has picked it up again so we're trying to speak as much as we can to each other at home."

- Reporting by Radio NZ's Eden More

rnz.co.nz

Jaymi Hirawani McTaggart, Emma Brown, Tumanako Fa’aui and Eve Duncan Spring talk about being labelled 'plastic'.
Jaymi Hirawani McTaggart, Emma Brown, Tumanako Fa’aui and Eve Duncan Spring talk about being labelled 'plastic'. Source: rnz.co.nz


Christchurch City Council gives $220 million covered multi-use arena the green light

Christchurch City Council has voted in favour of using $220 million for a multi-use arena - with a roof - in the central city.

After a lengthy discussion, the city officials voted to take the money from the Governments $300 million Capital Acceleration Fund.

The majority of the Government’s $300 million regeneration fund will go towards the stadium, but not everyone is happy with the move. Source: 1 NEWS

The Crusaders Super Rugby team are among those who will benefit from the project, after years of enduring their chilly temporary stadium in Addington.

"It's not going to be in my lifetime playing, but awesome to take the kids along to concerts and rugby," Crusaders captain Kieran Read said in June. "It's great to the whole community down there - it's a rugby stadium but it's more than that. It's for the Christchurch community so it'll be great."

The arena renews hope that Christchurch won't again be snubbed for All Blacks Tests and major crowd-pullers like Ed Sheeran.

Four options for the stadium have been shortlisted. Source: 1 NEWS

City officials decided to parcel out the other $80 million of the Capital Acceleration Fund to the Avon Rover Red Zone green spine and to transportation projects.

"We can't afford not to build a stadium," developer Richard Peebles told councillors today, according to Stuff.

He described the decision as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"If you don't build the multi-purpose arena in the CBD you will have lots more restaurants and bars closing," he said. "We need our engine running smoothly and we need it running well, and our CBD is that engine."

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

But not all agreed, with protestors calling for the money to be spent on "warm dry homes for our kids".

The key message is a new sports arena should not only have a roof, but also a retractable playing field. Source: 1 NEWS