Teacher enrolments have fallen dramatically in the last six years, which has led to a massive shortage of teachers, the government says.
Figures released on Tuesday show that the number of people enrolled in teacher training dropped by 40 percent in the period.
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Education Minister Chris Hipkins says the drop shows why there is now a chronic teacher shortage.
"It's a shocking failure of planning by the previous National government that has left an immediate shortage of teachers, but more worryingly, a ticking time bomb for schools as baby boomer teachers retire and too few incoming teachers coming through to take over."
The worst teacher shortage was in early childhood education, with the number of trainees down by almost 50 percent.
"The numbers are staggering," Mr Hipkins said.
The government introduced a $9.5 million teacher supply package before Christmas.