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Source: New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI)

Education funding must be inflation-proof for our tamariki – NZEI Te Riu Roa 

Educators are calling on the National Party to explain how cuts to education spending in real terms at a time of significant pressure on tamariki will not further compromise their learning.

National leader Chris Luxon backtracked this morning on a commitment to increase education and health funding to at least match inflation.

NZEI Te Riu Roa Liam President Rutherford said the comments signalled Mr Luxon needed a better understanding of the resourcing gap facing schools and ECE services.

“Any political party that does not commit to inflation-proof funding for something as essential as education, is in effect cutting spending,” Mr Rutherford said. “And any cuts will mean a fail in terms of supporting teachers to ensure our tamariki succeed.”

Mr Rutherford said that primary schools, kura and early childhood centres are already underfunded and under-resourced and with inflation running at a 30-year-high, educators are concerned about the effects of any funding cuts to a system that has been stretched thin.

He also said tamariki had been badly affected over the past two years because of the disruption to their learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated long-standing issues in the education system – most notably in the shortage of teachers and relievers.

“It’s really quite simple. The education system is at breaking point,” Mr Rutherford said.

“We would urge National, in fact all political parties, to prioritise fixing the system, especially as they look ahead to next year’s election.

“And that includes a very clear guarantee that education funding will keep pace with inflation.”