PPTA cause a problem – then claim they are fixing it

The inability of school Principals to pay staff differently where there are shortages has two causes – the PPTA opposed bulk funding and PPTA/NZEI insistence on national contracts.

Principals struggling to fill teaching positions have resorted to buying houses for staff as a last ditch attempt to offset the impact of the housing crisis.

A “perfect storm” has created a secondary school teaching shortage, exacerbated by teachers fleeing Auckland’s skyrocketing house prices, a principal says.

A new survey of principals found about one in 10 schools reported they were unable to fill permanent positions after advertising.

The average secondary school teacher earns between $46,000 and $75,000 but the median Auckland house price is $812,000 – four times the value of a Southland house.  

The growing problem has led to education unions and the Ministry of Education to join forces to find solutions, but at least one principal is taking measures into his own hands to combat the teacher shortage.

There are currently no extra incentives for teachers working in hard-to-fill subjects, or for those working in the country’s most populated city.

That means graduates can expect the same salary whether they work in Invercargill or Auckland, despite the huge divide in accommodation costs.

The teacher’s union the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) are working with the Ministry of Education on a report into the teacher shortages that they caused.

There is as much use belonging to a teacher union as there is to the Labour Party.


– Fairfax


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  • biscuit barrel

    Bulk funding NEVER allowed schools to pay teachers outside the award system. It just put the operational funds in one pool with salary costs . Often the result was less teachers who were paid the same as before but more money for computers (example)

    • jcpry

      Not in then school of which I was a board member of over the course of bulk funding. There were many ways in which great teachers could be rewarded.
      Your third sentence is really just nonsense. Bulk funding allowed schools to reduce class sizes – we actually purchased two classrooms out side of the ministry allocation to employ additional teachers to achieve this – and to bring in specialists for both extension and remedial teaching.

      • Dave

        Absolutely, we paid for many “extras” to attract and retain good teachers, a male english teacher, who could also coach rugby, and play the guitar for example……. He earn’t about an extra $5K almost 20 years ago.

      • Old Chook

        I taught in a bulk funded school. Only time in my teaching career that I had under 30 students and unlimited access to white board markers and general class supplies.

        • jcpry

          The ability to make a difference! All our teachers were on individual contracts and loved what we could do for them.

  • Keeping Stock

    Can Chris Hipkins point to one single example where a school HAS bought a house in order to attract or retain staff? Some schools are CONSIDERING it, but none has yet actually made a purchase. It’s more spin from the teacher unions and their cheerleader in Parliament, and another media outlet simply rehashing a union media release.

    • BigDogTalking

      Exactly, are we meant to believe that schools who ask for “donations” and run school fairs have enough money to purchase (presumably) $800k houses. What a load of rubbish.

      • biscuit barrel

        A deposit is all thats required up front

    • The high school I went to (a govt school in South Africa) had a cool thing for the younger teachers. We had a hostel at the school, and there were/are apartments for the teachers who were the house masters, meaning they didn’t have housing costs…..it’s a workable idea.

      • biscuit barrel

        NZ rural schools used to have school houses closeby. They were sold off of course.

        • jcpry

          Mainly because the schools were created when a) the horse and cart as the main means of transport and b) farm-work was basically manual.
          Times change.

  • JLS

    Simply the consequence of union imposed national pay scales. In normal employment employers compete for staff and pay as supply, demand, and profitability dictates. Also, the median house price is meaningless. The implication is that every house in Auckland is that price when in reality there are a full strata of properties below and above the median so there is choice to enter the market, or rent, or not live in Auckland at all, as people choose.

    • biscuit barrel

      if left up to individual schools the pay scales would sky rocket, as the money comes from the government nothing would be gained from having pay scales all over the place.
      It suits the government as well to have one group to negotiate with at one time. And they have a national payroll scheme to go with it. Imagine how much more complex and error prone novapay would be.

      • JLS

        Works fine in the private sector.

  • Aucky

    A little off subject but related. Our local state decile 10 primary school is having increasing problems in retaining staff in Auckland due largely to housing prices or rental costs. There is also a shortage of teachers due the burgeoning Auckland population.Three experienced teachers have resigned this term to head off to the provinces and adequate replacements have been impossible to find to date. If replacements are not found the school will be paying $350 per day for relieving teachers next term. I’m not convinced that this problem is totally ‘union spin’.

    • Oh Please

      Our local decile 7 primary/intermediate school is losing staff because the principal is an ardent Labour-ite and they have had enough of him.

      • Aucky

        That’s a common enough problem these days as many younger teachers don’t want a bar of unionism.

        • dennis

          Male teachers I know join the union so they have access to free lawyers should they need one.

    • Mighty1

      Our local Primary School has a shortage of experienced teachers because the Principal insists she needs TWO non teaching Deputy Principals, so the staff budget gets used up so in the main they can only afford young inexperienced teachers, who get married and pregnant and leave, creating a cycle of replacement. Older experienced Teachers can not break through the ceiling as the Principal has been there 100 years (exaggeration 18 actually) and so they have to move to other schools or retire… It’s not all as simple as funding.

    • D-Rad

      It means that teachers will really only consider long term if their partner is making enough money to support the family as housing is not cheap. Same for nurses, police etc I would guess.

  • Oh Please

    “Teachers fleeing” – another left lie. *Sigh*

    • Aucky

      Oh but they are. See my post below. I’m no lefty and neither am I lying.

      • Oh Please

        It suggests a traffic jam of teachers heading out of Auckland. I’m sure there are one or two, but a flood?

        • Aucky

          Yes………..and increasing.

          • Oh Please

            I wonder if charter schools have the same problem…

          • Aucky

            I don’t believe there has been any analysis of state, integrated, private or charter schools. I think that it would be pretty much across the board. We can throw all sorts of factors into the equation but at the end of the day it comes down to cash.

  • Alex

    The accommodation cost difference between cities is problem for military personnel too. They get paid bugger all (far less than teachers on average), have little to no choice where they are posted, have had all their accommodation allowances taken away in the last five years and and have no ability to negotiate at all. Relocating some bases/functions will help in 5 years time but not in the short term.

    • Rightsideofthebed

      Maybe if the teaching profession recruited locally – like the Police are forced to do, then this wouldn’t be an issue.
      All employees suffer from this accommodation cost difference, including nurses, firefighters etc but I haven’t seen their bosses buying them a house!

  • arnietm

    Most young single teachers and others used to and still should be in a flatting situation say 3 or 4 to a house. Then save and work up from there.

    • D-Rad

      I would say they are, all of my friends who became teachers are flatting (if they aren’t married/partnered up). But trying to attract experienced teachers to Auckland would be difficult I imagine when housing is so expensive. We rent in Meadowbank in a small 3 bedroom house with virtually no backyard. Carpet is fraying (which is good cos we have a dog and the landlord doesn’t mind what happens to the house as she will renovate when she can actually afford to cover the mortgage) it costs $600 per week. Thats cheap rent for our area. So imagine coming to Auckland from Hawkes Bay where your mortgage is probably $350 a week – if even that much and being stumped with that much in rent for no extra salary let alone buying somewhere. Its not going to happen is it?

  • Anthony

    Whatever the funding mechanisms state integrated schools use may be a factor in their employment of young well trained, effective teachers in central Auckland.

  • Anthony

    Other employers can and do pay more to staff in Auckland – so why shouldn’t Auckland schools be allowed to pay more?

  • Caprice

    Hopefully it will be the beginning of a trend which sees more people and businesses look at the possibility of moving out of Auckland. It could solve a lot of problems in the Queens city, while revitalizing other areas in New Zealand.
    I’m dreamin’ I know, but there is life outside Auckland.

    • Dog Breath

      It’s only a matter of time when economics or market forces kicks in seeing an exodus out of Auckland to the regions.