Early Childhood Education Teachers get Pay Parity and the sector gets a review of the ECE funding model

Te Rito Maioha is pleased that the Minister responsible for Early Childhood Education (ECE) has listened to the sector’s call for a review of the ECE funding model.

“We have written and spoken to multiple Education Ministers urging them to begin an independent funding review,” says Nikki Parsons, a General Manager at Te Rito Maioha. The announcement that some form of review will begin in the next term of government is pleasing, but this shouldn’t take multiple years and must be independent to ensure the review is not pre-determined.”

“As most people know, the best reviews are independent and at arm’s length from the funding agencies. This is vital if we want to reimagine how the funding model works, so that something fit for our modern ECE sector can be devised. Anything less than independent, will not cut the mustard.”

“I am also pleased that the government has agreed to move ahead with pay parity for ECE teachers, at least for the current budget. That’s a huge step towards valuing the role that ECE teachers play in educating and caring for our most vulnerable children, and simultaneously a helpful move towards developing a strategy to encourage more people into the profession.”

“But while this is good news, we’re gutted that the promises by this government haven’t been met. The Government should have guaranteed funding to maintain pay parity in the future. Currently there is absolutely no certainty for employers or kaiako. Therefore, we are calling on all political parties to confirm whether they will continue to fund Pay Parity for ECE teachers. There is a significant shortfall of ECE teachers in New Zealand, and treating teachers equally and fairly is vital if we are to build and attract a workforce and end the kaiako shortage.”

“Pay Parity should be something that all future governments embed, so that we can reward kaiako appropriately, and build a more robust ECE workforce,” says Mrs Parsons.

The government have also announced changes to 20 hours ECE funding conditions for home-based services which will be welcomed by a sector that has been struggling financially.


  • Primary school teachers and kindergartens have pay parity clauses meaning that the offer now must flow into these teachers|kaiako pay. 
  • By extension, the government have been promoting ‘pay parity’ within the ECE sector. That means that the wage increase offered to kindergarten kaiako, a  single part of ECE sector, will need to flow on to other ECE kaiako in the sector.
  • The announcement by the government commits to that pay parity flowing from Kindergarten to other ECE teachers, but only up until the next budget. It will be up to the next government to honour and fund pay parity going forward.

Te Rito Maioha’s Five Point Plan:

  1. An independent review to urgently replace the outdated, dysfunctional ECE funding model to meet the real needs of today’s working whānau, tamariki and ECE services.
  2. Fund ECE services sufficiently to deliver full pay parity for kaiako and quality education to tamariki without centres needing to charge high fees to parents.
  3. Tackle teacher shortages with a meaningful Education Workforce Strategy and action plan to attract, retain and develop a professional, culturally responsive ECE teaching workforce from within Aotearoa New Zealand.
  4. Improve child-teacher ratios – so that tamariki can thrive, learn and be safe with quality education and attention from teachers. You can view our 1:4-U3! petition here
  5. Simplify regulations to support quality education delivery without over-burdening ECE services with labour-intensive administration demands from multiple agencies.

Rob McCann - Lead Communications Advisor | Kaitohutohu Whakapā Matua
[email protected] 
Mob 022 411 4560