Education Minister Jan Tinetti 'hopeful' latest teachers' pay offer will be accepted

After months of strike disruption for high school students, the Government's agreed to a historic pay offer for secondary teachers.

It's accepted the recommendation of an independent arbitration panel to boost its base salaries by 14.5 percent, and it could mean good news for primary and kindergarten teachers too.

They've marched en masse time and time again, causing disruption for students while calling for better pay. With the help of an independent arbitration panel, the strikes could finally come to an end.

"I know we all want our young people back in the classrooms and learning, and our offer shows our commitment to that," said Education Minister Jan Tinetti. 

The Government's agreed with the panel's recommendation to boost secondary teachers' base salaries by 14.5 percent by next December.

Starting teachers will earn just over $61,000 - a 23 percent increase on their 2017 salaries of $46,000.

It's even better for teachers at the top of the pay scale they'll jump from $75,000 to more than $100,000. 

When asked if Tinetti was confident the offer will be accepted, she said: "I'm very hopeful it will. I am proud of the offer."

This pay increase improves on the Ministry of Education's previous offer of 11 percent, but doesn't meet the PPTA's request of an almost 18 percent rise. 

"We think this is okay. We think it deals with some of the issues we've raised [but] not all of it. But we definitely [will be] recommending it to the membership," said PPTA acting president Chris Abercrombie. 

Members will vote on it next week and if they agree to it, it will have a knock-on effect, boosting the salaries of primary and kindergarten teachers too. 

"It's a historic pay offer and it had to be, because it had to address historic pay issues, so we're very pleased with this," said New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) president Mark Potter. 

But the offer is going to cost the Government a lot of money, an extra $680 million to be exact. That money will come from the current education budget and next year's cost pressure allowance. 

Minister Tinetti is hopeful the teachers accept it because there's no more money. 

"This is our final offer. "

It could well be the final chapter of a long battle for better pay.