Primary teachers think they can milk more from the government, despite a firm line being drawn in the sand.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins says there’s no more money the government can offer teachers, after the Ministry’s latest offer last week.

NZEI president Lynda Stuart told Larry Williams if their members vote to reject the offer, she’s prepared to keep pushing for more.

“The Government’s got a $5.5 billion surplus, and just to say that there is no money when we are facing this crisis is probably not helpful.”

Earlier, Education Minister Chris Hipkins has accused primary teachers of increasing their demands every time the Government makes a concession.

He told reporters at Parliament that he was concerned at the way the NZ Educational Institute (NZEI) kept demanding more in the lead-up to this week’s regional strikes.

Hipkins said the ability to negotiate with secondary teachers was being constrained by the action by primary teachers.

“As this process has worked through, we have been increasing the offer to NZEI and they have at the same time been increasing what they are asking,” he said.

Hipkins said there was no more money on the table for primary teachers, and while the package could be rejigged, no more money would be offered.

“This is a very good offer,” he said.

He said it was a balancing act – what went into primary teachers didn’t go into special needs or to early childhood education.

“We’re not going to continue to increase the amount of money indefinitely.”

The NZEI should be carefully considering where it went from here and should be working with its members to “de-escalate” the situation.

“These are not insignificant sums of money we’re talking about.

“We’ve also got issues of health, housing and welfare we’ve got to grapple with.”

LISTEN TO LYNDA STUART TALK WITH LARRY WILLIAMS HERE.

Source: Newstalk ZB

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