Jan Tinetti defends education cuts to pay for teachers' pay boost

The Education Minister has defended making cuts to pay for a boost to secondary teachers' pay. 

Education Minister Jan Tinetti announced on Wednesday the Government 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. 

The offer is yet to be accepted by teachers but PPTA has recommended they do so. 

Tinetti said on Wednesday the Government needed to find $374 million to meet the panel’s recommendation. 

She told AM on Thursday she was adamant the Government would accept the panel's recommendation but added the process had been protracted because of the challenging fiscal environment New Zealand is in. 

Tinetti told AM co-host Laura Tupou about half of the funding required for the deal came from reprioritising things within the education budget. 

"We've looked at where we can cut that's going to have the least impact on young people's learning that we possibly could find," she said. 

"It's taken a bit of work to do this, but we've got four areas that we are looking at. Some of that is departmental funding from within the Ministry of Education." 

The Government is cutting about $40m from departmental funding, which is mostly backroom work, Tinetti said

When asked why the Government was spending that much when it wasn't needed, Tinetti said it was needed but investing in our teachers is more important. 

"The best resource we've got in education is our human resource and I know that for a fact and I think every single parent in this country knows that for a fact that our teachers are the cornerstone," she said. 

"So if we have to make those cuts like that, if we have to make that reprioritisation, I should put it more like that, then we are always going to look to those teachers first and foremost."

It was also revealed on Wednesday the Government would reprioritise work on two schools that are a part of the Public Private Partnership Schools Expansion Programme - Te Ao Marama and Hobsonville Point Secondary School.

"We know that it possibly would be disappointing for those people, but that is two schools when we're talking about the whole of our education system in a secondary education system here," she told AM. 

"So we knew we were going to have to reprioritise, but we made it certain that it was the least impact we possibly could on young people."

Watch the full interview with Jan Tinetti in the video above.