2 Message from the National President

Lynda Stuart

Navigating through rough seas: a year to be proud of

What a tumultuous year this has been.

A year to be proud of, and one in which we showed the collective strength of NZEI Te Riu Roa.

We saw members standing up and speaking out, in front of hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of people to tell their story.

Many of these people never dreamed that they would be able to do this. They showed courage because they knew their story would help to make the difference in the fight against the Government’s move towards bulk funding. They were right!

Collectively we made this happen, and with our PPTA colleagues standing beside us, we managed to defeat the Government’s plan.

Over the year, a concerted effort across the country brought the message of the underfunding of public education to the forefront of people's minds.

We took our nimble little camper van into every nook and cranny of Aotearoa. We touched communities with our stories—about the impact of the funding freeze to schools and decreased levels of funding in the early childhood sector. We petitioned the Government and had many politicians walk in the shoes of support staff, to develop an understanding of their multifaceted roles.

NZEI Te Riu Roa has continued to be involved in the Government’s funding review, the review of the Education Act and the learning support work, alongside other sector leaders.

We are there at the table to ensure that we shape system change, reject privatisation, enable and grow professional leadership and pursue appropriate terms and conditions for a quality workforce.

The exciting career framework plan engages the membership in a different and enabling way. We want to ensure that expertise is acknowledged appropriately.

We are constantly promoting a stretched Community of Learning model and I have had ongoing feedback about this when I visit schools, kura and early childhood centres.

The NZEI Te Riu Roa/Ministry of Education review of this policy should result in changes that reflect our belief that the model be child-centred, purpose-driven, voluntary and needs-based.

As I write this, we are also focussed on September’s general election. Our members have been working hard to ensure that education is on the top of people's minds as they cast their vote.

We want all of the parties’ policies well and truly interrogated to see if they have been designed with the best interests of our children in mind. All politicians have a responsibility under Article 3 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to ensure that this happens.

We may not know what our new government looks like at our Annual Conference this year, but one thing that we can be assured of is that no matter what, NZEI Te Riu Roa will hold the Government to account. We will navigate together, and we will show courage as we speak up and speak out.

Lynda Stuart

Lynda Stuart
NZEI Te Riu Roa President, Te Manukura