Economic growth, not teacher payrises needed

September 10th, 2010 at 12:47 pm by David Farrar

NZPA report:

A new report reveals New Zealand teachers are still paid far less than their Aussie counterparts, says the sector union Te Riu Roa.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released a report, Education at a Glance 2010, which compares the education systems of 29 countries.

The report shows a New Zealand primary school teacher with 15 years experience earns $US38,412 ($NZ52,871) but an Australian teacher, with the same experience, earns $US46,096 ($NZ63,447).

If the Government was serious about closing the pay gap and retaining teachers then it had to invest in education, NZEI president Frances Nelson said.

I am not surprised teachers in Australia get paid more. Everyone in Australia gets paid more – they are a wealthier country. The solution to this problem is to increase productivity growth.

The better comparison between countries is how much do teachers get paid, compared to the average wage, or how much does a country spend on education as a percentage of GDP.

The OECD report answers the latter.

In Australia 3.5% of GDP is spent on non-tertiary education, and in New Zealand it is 4.0%. So we are already paying more as a percentage of GDP, than Australia. Hence the solution is to increase GDP, not to increase the share spent on education.

Only three OECD countries spend a higher percentage of GDP on non-tertiary education than New Zealand.

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22 Responses to “Economic growth, not teacher payrises needed”

  1. GPT1 (2,123 comments) says:

    Apparently the PPTA has given “permission” for Canterbury teachers not to strike. How very generous. Yet speaking to teachers a large number are embarrassed to be required to strike at a time when the economy is precarious and there is a $4 billion deposit required in Christchurch. Would be nice if the PPTA and NZEI listened to these people rather than continue to throw toys over national standards.

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  2. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Whoever is negotiating with the NZ teachers needs to take a leaf from Governor Christie’s book. Link posted by Angus earlier today on GD, and in it he explains in the kind of candid language that the Nats need to adopt, why teachers cannot have a raise but in fact have to settle for a pay cut.

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/nj-gov-christie-clashes-with-teacher-at-town-hall/

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  3. Swiftman the infidel (329 comments) says:

    Are there any other parents out there who are sick of childrens ‘homework’ which is in reality parents homework?

    My year 3 son (age 8) has got as homework the project of constructing an hourglass/egg timer.

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  4. James Stephenson (2,225 comments) says:

    Everyone in Australia gets paid more

    I certainly know my equivalents in Australia earn more than me, and they’re both younger and less experienced (although obviously not smarter or better looking).

    Would I move to Sydney or Melbourne to do the same job there? Only at gun-point.

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  5. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    And teachers in Zimbabwe get a lot less, would they lake equvuilent pay with them?

    We’re not part of bloody Australia so what has their pay rate got to do with it? You want their pay go work there… oh wait they have an accountability system you wouldn’t like.

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  6. RightNow (6,995 comments) says:

    Swiftman, look at it as a way to spend time with your kids. That’s the benefit. Apart from that research suggests there is no real benefit for primary school kids doing homework.
    http://www.janebluestein.com/articles/hw_worth.html

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  7. Swiftman the infidel (329 comments) says:

    @RightNow Thank you and God bless you for this practical advice.

    Have a GREAT weekend.

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  8. vibenna (305 comments) says:

    Nice link DPF. The OECD reports also has some interesting stats on the tertiary sector:

    – We spend more of our tertiary education budget on student loans than any other OECD country.
    – We spend less of our budget on the institutions themselves than other other OECD country, bar one.

    Meanwhile, the tertiary industry continues to be heavily price controlled.

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  9. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    - We spend more of our tertiary education budget on student loans than any other OECD country.
    – We spend less of our budget on the institutions themselves than other other OECD country, bar one.

    Things that Uni. Auckland Vice Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon is very aware of – frequently makes comments to that effect with regards to the competitiveness of our universities with overseas ones.

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  10. peterwn (3,307 comments) says:

    Teachers in Broken Hill, Kalgoorlie, Port Hedland and Birdsville are probably very well paid and for good reason – this would lift average teaching salary levels.

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  11. RRM (10,020 comments) says:

    No pay rises ever for teachers, nurses, or anyone else with the temerity to expect to make a living providing highly skilled services that are needed to keep people (or the race as a whole) alive.

    Pay rises are for people who practise the noble art of taking hideous risks with others’ money. And public sector CEOs on short term contracts, who have two short years to cut costs by 10% in order to receive their bonus, before moving on to work their slash & burn “magic” somewhere else.

    But those that actually do the work, are beneath the pale and to be treated accordingly.

    (Shhh, we don’t want them finding out UK or Western Australia will pay them twice what they’re making here, sort out their visas AND relocate them for free!)

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  12. Christopher Thomson (377 comments) says:

    I would like to suggest that all state servants are part of the core function of our society and they have no rights to strike or be unionised. Like the military and the police.

    Don’t like the conditions, don’t take the job. Trouble is too many get on that public wage and lack the moral fibre to wean themselves off it.

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  13. somewhatthoughtful (467 comments) says:

    bullshit logic is bullshit

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  14. Jinky (188 comments) says:

    What RRM said but Christopher is an idiot. Nurses and teachers don’t take their jobs to “get on the public wage”.

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  15. wreck1080 (3,963 comments) says:

    I don’t see a problem with the teachers argument.

    I notice managers argue that their pay must be at a level to be internationally competitive.

    So, why not teachers?

    Our own prime minister is one of the most highly paid leaders in the world if ranked as a percentage of GPD. So, why not teachers too?

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  16. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    A reminder of how we measure up with the Aussies:

    John Ansell said:

    Kiwis need to know that New Zealand is not just poorer than Australia. We’re hundreds of dollars a week poorer (on average) than EVERY SINGLE Australian state, and EVERY SINGLE American state.

    Poorer, in other words, than those inbred Tasmaniacs and dem poor folks from Mississippi.

    I don’t have the American figures, but here are the latest trans-Tasman average pay packets: (in AU$):

    1. Western Australia – $73,700

    2. Northern Territory – $72,300

    3. ACT – $69,000

    AUSTRALIA – $53,500

    4. NSW – $51,900

    5. Victoria – $51,200

    6. Queensland – $50,700

    7. South Australia – $46,200

    8. Tasmania – $43,000

    NEW ZEALAND – $38,400

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  17. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    The Gross State Product per capita figures above are 10 months old, so I thought I’d update them. Figures are in $NZ.
    $91,767 — Northern Territory
    $89,804 — ACT
    $88,619 — Western Australia
    $68,163 — NSW
    $66,182 — Victoria
    $64,396 — Queensland
    $60,838 — South Australia
    $56,829 — Tasmania
    $46,683 — New Zealand

    Productivity parity drives pay parity. Time for the NZEI, and the PSA and the other Victorian-era unions to wake up.

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  18. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Oh let them strike, do the country a favor. This country needs a good kick in the arse, lets start with the bloody teachers. Fuck I would like a pay rise every year but have to settle for what the market is willing to pay for my product. Time for the bloody teachers to grow up, do these clowns think money just appears out of thin air, tossers.

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  19. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    I take it Frances Nelson taught sewing or something like that. S/he certainly doesn’t know much about economics or maths.

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  20. longbow (118 comments) says:

    $NZ52,871 vs $NZ63,447

    their OZ counterparts making 20% more

    from back of my head on average same profession OZ making 30% more than NZ, so the teachers are in a better position than quite a few other professions. i would not be complaining that much if i’m making 83% of my collegue who moved to OZ the year before.

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  21. duffyclub (1 comment) says:

    For a country to succeed, as with a company, then output / revenues / profits / employees must be some of the key measures. As DPF states the long term strategic focus should be on GDP…not forgetting employees or in this case the people of NZ need also to feel they are earning a decent wage.
    We work closely with the education sector and I’ll always argue that key roles in the community such as doctors, nurses, teachers, police and firemen all deserve appropriate pay. Some of them are doing OK; some not. Education is key as it is the mind which makes the decisions which run this country every day. Uneducated minds make uneducated decisions…and too many uneducated minds are exiting the education system today. Higher teacher salaries would attract quality teachers into schools. It’s a very rewarding vocation but it needs some commercial savvy (and male role models) introduced so our kids learn the fundamentals of business, finance, and all the other important topics. Higher pay rates for quality teaching would go part way to solving this problem.
    Where does the extra money come from? I can think of a few areas…social welfare (too many people riding the system), foreign aid (NZ should be #1), bureaucrats (the time and money lost on decision-making must be sufficient to run a community!)…

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  22. daniel_savvy (1 comment) says:

    I’m a teacher, and I do get what everyone is on about. But people don’t understand what teachers go through! The ministry of education has given us loads of extra work but without any bonus. We would even take extra classroom release time to get the work done but they won’t give us that so we’re going for extra pay! I teach 9 year old children. I have 30 in my class and have to meet the needs of each child. I work from 7am until 6pm most days – Spent 5 years at university training to get a masters degree, and get paid $55,000 a year. Police get paid to train (6 months) and get ten grand extra – Yes their job is more risky – But they work 40-50 hours a week I work 60 – 70.
    Teachers are trained professionals who get shat on all the time because they aren’t meeting the needs of the children. It’s a joke. If the Ministry want us to work harder, longer hours, with larger classes and one hour a week out of the class to do it then they need to make it worth while. Teachers are reasonable…..we want to be paid what we deserve. Teaching used to be a vocation – a highly regarded profession. Now we get treated like glorified babysitters, but who gets the blame when the shit hits the fan….us….When things are going well for a child – It’s because of their upbringing….When things are going poorly…”It’s that bloody useless teacher”.

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