Early Childhood Council welcomes National's aim to scrap teacher registration fees

National deputy leader and education spokesperson Nikki Kaye.
National deputy leader and education spokesperson Nikki Kaye. Photo credit: Newshub Nation.

The Early Childhood Council is welcoming the National Party's proposal to scrap teacher registration fees.

National is promising to foot the bill for the fees - which are set to more than double next year - if elected to Government in September.

The Teaching Council plans to charge teachers $157 per year from February 2021, up from $73.60 a year under the current system which charges them $220.80 every three years.

Early Childhood Council chief executive Peter Reynolds says it's a great idea.

"I don't think there's going to be an early childhood teacher in the country that isn't going to be grateful for National recognising the significant increase in practicing certificates proposed by the Teaching Council," he told Newshub.

The Teaching Council proposal to increase fees sparked a backlash with an online petition describing it as "outrageous". The petition has the backing of National education spokesperson Nikki Kaye who said it's "unacceptable" to spike those fees.

Reynolds said the idea was welcomed so long as it didn't devalue the Teaching Council.

"Whether it's $1 or $100, there's got to be a sense of value in there. So there's got to be something teachers feel positive about getting from their professional body that would warrant any sort of investment."

Scrapping the Teaching Council fees would require a law change to the Education Act, removing the power of the Teaching Council to charge teachers for registration fees and other costs relating to its functions. 

But Reynolds admits fee hikes aren't the only issues teachers face.

"We would be very hopeful that any incoming Government - whatever flavour - is prepared to express a commitment to complete the review of the funding system; get this sorted out once and for all." 

Kaye said on Tuesday scrapping the fees would not take power away from the Teaching Council as an independent entity.

"New Zealand has had long-standing teacher supply and retention issues," she said. "This is a small way that we can reduce costs for teachers and is one of a number of policies National intends to implement to reinforce the value of educators in our society."

But Education Minister Chris Hipkins said it was "disappointing to see National politicise" teacher registration fees.