Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern makes impromptu speech to striking teachers

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave an impromptu speech in attempt to rally the support of teachers who were protesting outside Parliament on Wednesday afternoon.

She wasn't scheduled to show up, but told the crowd of thousands that when she saw them streaming onto the grounds she "couldn't not" speak to them.

"You are all here because you are passionate about kids, and you know as we know that the education system has the power to overcome so many of the issues and challenges we face as the country," she said.

Ms Ardern told them that she was Minister for Children because her motivation in politics is kids, just as it was for teachers in their careers.

She asked them to work with the Government as they tried to move negotiations forward.

"The last speaker said we need radical change - yes; I guess the only point we would make is unfortunately, sometimes radical change takes time."

Later that afternoon in Parliament, she was grilled by National Party leader Simon Bridges, who asked if she was aware that 60,000 people had been on strike in the last 10 months, compared to 30,000 in the previous nine years.

"I absolutely acknowledge that, because that government couldn't resolve the nurses' pay dispute that we did have a situation we needed to resolve," Ms Ardern said.

She said the Government had to double the nurses' pay offer and address concerns about safety, staffing levels and under resourcing to resolve the dispute.

Mr Bridges then asked: "With teachers contemplating two-day strikes, does she intend to spend the next two years avoiding any responsibility and not actually fixing the problem?"

"I have to say I find that line of questioning a bit rich, given that the first offer made by this government is double what that last government allowed teachers to work under," Ms Ardern said.