A couple of weeks ago we kicked off our first Women as Influencers event in Tauranga. The aim is to hear inspiring stories of local women. The first of these events focused on education and was a real success. We will be holding more of these over the next few months.

As a parent, you want the best education for your children. You want them to be taught by teachers who are highly skilled and passionate about their work. You don’t want your child’s educators to be stressed and unhappy with their working conditions.

The Government’s pre-Budget education announcement was a bit of a mixed-bag for the sector. It’s concerning that the Government is half way through its first term but it still has no plan or education strategy, only a ‘vision statement’.

By not releasing a plan showing how many teachers are actually needed, the Government can avoid being held to account.

During their election campaign, Labour built up high expectations around pay rises and working conditions for teachers. Where is the follow through now? A mega strike is now planned, and will see the largest ever industrial action by New Zealand primary and secondary teachers. Our children’s learning is suffering as a result of unresolved collective bargaining.

The Ministry of Education’s own data indicates we could need more than 2210 extra teachers over the next five years. Larger class sizes are likely if these teachers can’t be found.

This is not good for our children and their future education.

Simon Bridges
National Party Leader