• Wyatt Creech

The Minister of Education is giving an assurance that new base pay rates will be exactly the same for primary and secondary school principals 12 months after the current contract expires.

"The claim that the Government is reneging on its commitment to a unified pay system is wrong.

"Primary teachers have been offered "pay parity that sticks" - this is exactly what they have been asking for. For primary principals, we have announced a $46 million package which unifies the pay system for secondary and primary school principals," Mr Creech said.

"The new basic pay scale for primary and secondary school principals will be phased in over a 12 month period, not three years as claimed by the primary teachers' union. By the beginning of 1999 the basic pay scale for a primary school principal will be the same as the basic pay scale for a secondary school principal.

"The pay rates will have increased an average of 13.4% for primary school principals, 12.6% for area school principals and 9.4% for secondary school principals," Mr Creech said.

"We are combining two quite separate systems of pay into one. Primary principals were paid on the basis of the number of teachers in their schools and secondary principals were paid on the number of students. A unified pay system requires all to be remunerated on the same basis.

"Primary principals are currently paid extra for 'attached teachers' (over and above the base staffing entitlement) and who service students in other schools as well. The new pay system will be based on the number of students."

In the future the basic pay rates for school principals will range from $87,000 for a large school to $52,000 for the smallest schools. With extra discretionary payments there is potential for some principals to earn about $100,000 per annum. Mr Creech released a table breaking down the current base pay rates for primary school principals, the Ministry of Education's understanding of what the NZEI wanted for "catch-up" with their secondary colleagues and the new pay rates.

"The table makes it clear that the Government is offering more than 'parity' in the base pay rates between primary and secondary school principals."

School Type
(Primary principals based on teacher numbers) Current
$Base pay rates
NZEI claim for catch-up parity*
$Base pay rates
School Type
(new system based on roll numbers in line with secondary) New Pay Rates
(primary, area and secondary)
$Base pay rates

G1 40,500-
48,000 51,751 51-100
0-50 52,000
G2 47,000-
52,000 56,614 101-150
51-100 59,000
G3 51,000-
58,000 63,131 151-300
101-150 64,000
G4 57,000-
63,000 68,860 301-500
151-300 69,000
(also entitled to supplementary grants of between $5,640-$6,243)
G5 62,000-
68,000 74,442 301-500 74,000
(also entitled to supplementary grants of between $5,640-$6,243)
501-850 77,000
(also entitled to supplementary grants of between $6,237-$7,278)

*Ministry of Education's understanding of NZEI parity claim. The NZEI's claim included extra for settlement. (NB: the new rates are phased in over 12 months from when the contracts expire on February 1 1998)

"I am disappointed at the response from the leadership of the NZEI to the new pay rates. A number of principals have already told me they think they new pay rates are very good.

"We are working hard to develop a unified pay system that rewards all principals and teachers within our schools on the same basis," Mr Creech said.