The Government disputes a teachers' union claim that schools are at breaking point due to lack of funding.
Addressing the New Zealand Educational Institute's annual conference on Sunday, NZEI president Louise Green said statistics released this month showed New Zealand's funding per primary student was now annually $1500 lower per child compared to the OECD average.
"Government funding cuts are stretching our early childhood providers and primary schools to breaking point," she said.
At the same time, early childhood education had been hit by both a freeze in per-child funding and a cut to quality teacher funding, she said.
"We are calling on the Government to lift the funding freeze on the school operations grant and to restore quality funding for early childhood education," Ms Green said.
Acting Education Minister Anne Tolley says there's been no funding freeze with operations grants increased by one percent for next year to a total of $1.35 billion.
The extra $12.3 million is being targeted to those students most at risk of not achieving.
No other OECD country spends a higher percentage of its public funding on education as New Zealand, she says.
New Zealand's public expenditure in early childhood education is in the top third of OECD countries and funding has more than doubled since 2008.
Expenditure in primary schools has risen by 39 percent since 2008 and expenditure in secondary schools has increased by 24 percent during the same period.