'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

Great Barrier Island man whose truck battery blew up in his face flown to hospital

A Great Barrier Island man whose truck battery blew up in his face this morning has been flown to Auckland Hospital by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

At 9.15am, a rescue helicopter crew was called to Great Barrier Island after the man suffered multiple burns to his body.

He is in Auckland Hospital in a moderate condition. 

Source: 1 NEWS



NZ Wars should be taught in schools, historian argues - 'They’re more important that WWI and WWII'

The New Zealand Wars had more impact on Aotearoa than the world wars and the conflict needs to feature more in the school curriculum, says historian and campaigner Vincent O’Malley.

Mr O’Malley, the author for the Great War of New Zealand, says criticism that the topic is boring is unfounded and the young people he’s spoken to around the country understand why it is important to know about the New Zealand Wars.

“They’re really comfortable with accepting the need to embrace these difficult parts of our history as a crucial part of the process of growing up and maturing as a nation,” Mr O’Malley told TVNZ1’s Breakfast.

“These wars had a profound effect on New Zealand history, in some respects I’d argue that they were more important than World War I and World War II in terms of the impacts that they had.”

As it stands currently, Mr O’Malley says New Zealand has high-autonomy curriculum where schools and teachers decide what is taught.

This means students often leave school with no knowledge of the New Zealand Wars, information that Mr O’Malley says can help young people make sense of the world.

“The only NZ history that’s in the curriculum is in year 10 social studies, that’s something about the Treaty of Waitangi that needs to be taught.

“The story of the New Zealand Wars is really part of the story of the treaty, because the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 didn’t change everything overnight.

“In most areas, Māori continued to manage their own affairs as they always had, so really the New Zealand Wars are about a battle between two competing visions of what New Zealand was and what it could become.

“On one hand, Māori ideas or expectations of partnership, on the other hand Crown and Pakeha came to NZ and thought they would be in charge and arrived and discovered they weren’t, so the wars were about the Crown’s attempt to impose its authority over the country and to eliminate Māori rangatiratanga.”

Mr O’Malley said many modern issues such as Māori poverty cannot be understood fully without knowing about the New Zealand Wars.

“One of the examples I cite is we can’t really understand contemporary Māori poverty without understanding the background to that, which is that the NZ Wars and the subsequent land confiscations of millions of acres of land condemned generations of Māori to lives of poverty.”

“That’s something that resonates over many, many generations and we need to understand that background.”

The other important part of that story which people don’t widely appreciate is before the 1860s, before the main period of the NZ Wars, Māori were the leading drivers of the NZ economy, most of NZ’s export income was being derived from Māori and that is destroyed, almost overnight, by the course of these wars.

“That’s not widely known and widely appreciated.”

"They're more important that WWI and WWII," Vincent O'Malley argued on TVNZ1's Breakfast. Source: Breakfast


Electrocution deaths of 11 cows on Northland farm prompts safety warning

The electrocution deaths of 11 cows on a Northland farm has highlighted the importance of safety on farms, Federated Farmers said in a statement.

The cows were killed on a Dargaville farm this week after a fallen power service line sagged onto a live 400-volt line nearby, arming it.

"My condolences to the farmer concerned. It must have been awful to see the animals like that," Federated Farmers Northland Provincial President John Blackwell said.

"It is my understanding it was the farmer’s responsibility to remove the downed line.

"Even if people think lines are disconnected they can still be deadly. Get onto health and safety problems when you know about them - do not procrastinate."

File image of cows on a field.

National criticise 'incompetent handling' of CTO job offer, then retraction

National have hit out at the $100,000 sting for the taxpayers over the "incompetent handling" of the chief technology officer role, after the position was scrapped by the Government. 

National's State Services spokesperson Nick Smith said the role was budgeted at costing over $500,000 per year, but an offer to Derek Handley was then retracted by the Government. 

"The process around appointing a CTO has been a shambles from the beginning," he said. "It involved secret meetings and emails, the resignation of Minister Clare Curran and now we're paying Derek Handley around $100,000 for a job he never even started.

"The Government should apologise to taxpayers for wasting their money and Mr Handley for wasting his time."

Today the Government confirmed it put a "full stop" on the process of CTO, and the new Digital Services Minister Megan Woods confirmed Mr Handley would be paid out $107,500.

Greg Boyed talks to tech entrepreneur Derek Handley about his continued interest and investment in New Zealand – and his fellowship for exceptional young Kiwis.
Source: Q+A

"As the new Minister I have asked officials to review the CTO role and provide advice on the best ways to drive a forward-looking digital agenda for New Zealand," she said. 

Mr Handley wrote in a statement he and his family "decided not to accept the settlement money personally and instead donate the net proceeds towards a fund that supports ideas, programs and grants that seek to tackle this societal issue in creative ways. I welcome collaboration from all communities on how we may do that".

The latest developments come after MP Clare Curran was stripped of her position as Minister for Government Digital Services after not disclosing a meeting with Mr Handley previously.

A delegation from GM-free Hastings met with the Environment Minister over reforms they say will destroy their export markets.
Nelson MP Nick Smith. Source: 1 NEWS