Judy Bailey grills Chris Hipkins on teacher salaries

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has announced every aspect of the New Zealand school system will be scrutinised and potentially overhauled. 

He told The Project that the Government intends to better support teachers, but guest host Judy Bailey had some tough questions around salaries.

The Minister says the education system is overdue for some significant changes. 

"In some cases, we're delivering things that were good for the last century, but aren't so good for the current century."

He says the Government must do a "much better job" for under-achieving students.

Teachers also need help, he says, especially when it comes to class sizes, professional development and workload.

"If we want better educational outcomes, then better support for teachers has got to be a big part of it."

Ms Bailey, whose daughter is a teacher, grilled Mr Hipkins on whether the Labour Government planned to raise the profession's famously low salaries.

The Minister avoided answering the question outright, saying most people would like to be paid more. 

There are two collective agreement negotiation rounds coming up in 2018 for both primary and secondary sectors, which he says will be "good robust negotiations".

He was clear that he personally felt teachers deserved more recognition for their work.

"I want to see teaching as one of the most respected professions in the country."

After the interview, the legendary news anchor told her fellow hosts that she relished being able to speak passionately about what she believes in.

"I've been bred not to have an opinion for so many years."

She says her daughter isn't the only reason she thinks so highly of teachers.

"They work so hard, they really do. [They have] multiple jobs - social workers, counsellors, teachers, the whole nine yards."

The admitted "cynic" declined to say whether or not she's optimistic Mr Hipkins really will make things better for teachers.

"I've seen so many of these reviews, but I hope so. I really hope so."



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