Te Rito Maioha welcomes pre-Budget announcement on pay parity


Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand welcomes today’s pre-Budget announcement which will see some ECE teachers | kaiako take a step closer to pay parity with their kindergarten colleagues.

Today’s announcement from Education Minister Chris Hipkins will see existing education and care service funding rates increased from 1 July 2021, alongside the minimum salary required to be paid to qualified and certificated kaiako. The minimum moves from $49,862 to $51,358 per annum. 

“The announcement by the Minister that another set of higher funding rates will be made available from 1 January 2022, if services agree to pay kaiako in line with the first six pay bands of the collective agreement to which kindergarten kaiako belong, is an interesting approach by this Government and one we’re generally in support of,” says Te Rito Maioha Chief Executive, Kathy Wolfe.

“It is expected such a change would benefit kaiako earning from around $50,000 to around $65,000, with some getting increases of as much as 17%. Of course, some work will need to be completed to have an understanding what “opt in” means for the ECE employer and the kaiako.”

“For example, how this will be monitored to ensure this funding goes straight to kaiako pay; will services who are already paying at the Kindergarten Teachers Collective Agreement rates but do not wish to “opt in” also receive this funding if they can provide evidence of this; can employers choose to direct some of this funding to their more experienced qualified kaiako to lift their salaries and value their mahi?”

“I am relieved to see clarity from the Minister with this next tranche of funding that he has an unequivocal expectation that centres receiving it should pass it all onto kaiako.”

“Te Rito Maioha has been saying for many years that kaiako who have the same qualifications and are carrying out the same work, deserve to get paid equally. As the Minister said in his announcement, “it’s only fair”, so this is a welcome step towards addressing that longstanding inequity.”  

“All ECE qualified kaiako have the same roles and responsibilities to our youngest tamariki and their whānau to provide the high-quality early childhood education they deserve. It’s about time the valuable contribution of kaiako was recognised.  We are committed to ensuring this happens for all qualified kaiako who teach in ECE, as there will be those that still miss out, which is unacceptable.”

“We look forward, as part of the sector, to continuing to work over the next year with the Government on further critical changes that are needed sooner rather than later to the ECE funding model to sustainably implement pay parity for all kaiako,” says Kathy Wolfe.