NZ First drops 'severely flawed' Bill restricting use of word 'teacher'

The proposed Member's Bill would have restricted the use of the word 'teacher'.
The proposed Member's Bill would have restricted the use of the word 'teacher'. Photo credit: File

New Zealand First has abandoned a controversial Member's Bill which would have placed restrictions who can call themselves a teacher.

On Monday, MP Jenny Marcroft announced she had withdrawn the 'Education (Protecting Teacher Title) Amendment Bill' after a "positive discussion" between her party and the office of the Minister of Education.

She says the launch of the nationwide initiative 'Education Conversation 2018' over the weekend has given her renewed confidence in the country's respect for teachers.

"Add this to the multiple trains of work the Minister of Education is undertaking and I see a real commitment to raising and recognising the status of our teaching profession which gives me confidence that my Member's Bill is no longer needed."

The Bill would have meant that only those who have trained and are qualified as teachers can use the title in order to "lift the status of teachers".

It would have become an offence, punishable with a $2000 fine, to connect the word with any unqualified person or business. People who were not qualified would have had to use the title of lecturer, tutor or educator instead.

The proposed Bill was harshly criticised by National, which NZ First MP Tracey Martin called "scaremongering".

National has been quick to take credit for the withdrawal, with Education Spokesperson Nikki Kaye calling it a "big win" for people such as swimming and music teachers.

"It's clear that National's campaign against this flawed Bill has succeeded," she said in a statement.

"The lack of work on the Bill to determine the number of people affected, the costings, and the general impact that the Bill would have had meant that it was destined to fail.

"This Bill was severely flawed from the start and I hope this is the last we'll see of it."