Simon Bridges thinks teachers' strike justified, blames Government

Primary school teachers and principals will take to the streets in Auckland on Monday morning to protest their pay and working conditions.

The latest pay offer would have given teachers an approximate $10,000 pay rise, bringing the average salary up to about the $85,000 mark, but it doesn't address class sizes.

Appearing on The AM Show on Monday, National Leader Simon Bridges told host Duncan Garner that while we "all agree they deserve more money", the teachers' strike was due to "raised expectations".

"I think the problem with what we've got here is the Government, both in Opposition and in Government, raised expectations," he says.

"The teachers are sitting there and they know Police got significantly more than them, they know the Government's had a lot of money for some pretty wasteful things, whether it's been the free fees and so on."

In reality, the pay offer police accepted provides for a pay increase of 3 percent per year over the next three years.

But Mr Bridges says it's also about more than just money and thinks the strike is justified.

"It's not just the pay, that's one part and sure that's an important part. But it's a whole bunch of other things about how they're seen and how they operate their classrooms," he says.

"There's things that National feels pretty clear about like teacher-classroom ratios, sizes of classroom, ultimately making sure teachers feel like and are seen as the respected professionals they are."

However he won't take responsibility for National's actions over teachers' pay and conditions while in power.

"They didn't strike under us," he told Garner.

"You can say 'oh well, they knew you wouldn't be a soft touch' and all of these things.

"The truth is we did some stuff, what teachers knew is under us we had GFC [Global Financial Crisis], we had earthquakes, we had a tighter fiscal envelope."

Mr Bridges promised to release National's plan on classroom sizes next year.