ACT campaign launch and education policy

The ACT Party has launched their campaign today and at the same time has announced new education policy – better pay for better teachers.

ACT announces better pay for great teachers

“Good teachers help children grow, develop, and reach their full potential which is vital to their future success,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Unfortunately, because of union contracts, teachers hit maximum pay after ten years, schools can’t reward successful teachers, and teaching is not regarded as a strong career choice for our brightest graduates.

“Right now the best teachers earn the same as the worst teachers. Graduates are deserting Auckland schools or deserting teaching altogether. Teachers can only earn more by taking on administrative work, and spending less time actually teaching kids.

“ACT says this is crazy. We want the best teachers to stay in the profession and in the classroom.

“With the current government surplus at $3.7 billion, ACT will give principals $975 million to pay good teachers more, without cutting government services or raising taxes. But the schools will only be eligible for this funding if they abandon nationally-negotiated union contracts. This will make it easier for principals to replace bad teachers with great ones.

“ACT’s Good Teacher Grants will boost teachers’ pay by $20,000 on average, and elevate teaching as a profession, to attract the best graduates to teach our children and keep the most capable teachers in the classroom.”

Speech and policy explainer : Pay Good Teachers More


New Zealand kids should be taught by highly skilled professional teachers. Education is the most important gift we can give our children, to give them a head-start in life.

It is wrong that the best teacher and the worst teacher are paid the same. Incentives matter, it’s wrong that the only way for teachers to increase their pay, in many cases, is to take management hours and spend less time teaching kids.

Teachers, as salaried professionals, are undervalued. To attract the best school leavers and graduates into teaching as a profession, we have to lift the overall salary range.


ACT’s proudest achievement is in introducing choice into education. We championed Partnership Schools which are seeing Iwi, Pasifika Groups, community groups and others running new-model schools which are changing kids lives. We don’t believe that one size fits all in education.

Our policy has been to increase support for independent schools – they save taxpayers money, and provide parents with choice in the type of education they get for their children.


This policy will add $1 Billion into the funding that is available for teacher salaries. On average we will increase teacher salaries by $17,700 per teacher. This will enable the best teachers to stay in the classroom, and elevate teaching as a profession.

The Government surplus sits at $3.7 Billion. That means this policy is affordable and we can deliver improvements in teacher quality alongside tax cuts, while maintaining all core government spending.

We will enable schools to opt out of union contracts. This will mean they gain the flexibility to recognise great teachers by paying them more and rewarding their achievement.

Schools will be able to pay more to attract teachers to fill specialist skills shortages – in areas like science, technology, Te Reo and international languages.



  1. The most innovative, yet practical, policy suggestions continue to come from ACT.

    • David

       /  September 2, 2017

      They do seem to be the only party that isn’t just offering different flavours of ‘more free x’ vs ‘more free y’. Their brand has just been too damaged in the past to get much traction though I suspect.

    • Gezza

       /  September 2, 2017


      • Gezza

         /  September 2, 2017

        😕 Sorry Ben, out of practice, try again …

        • patupaiarehe

           /  September 2, 2017

          That’s actually David’s Dad G, his Mum is the photographer. 18 people is 1 less than at the last ACT Party AGM, because [deleted, don’t make unsupported assertions] couldn’t make it this year 😉 😀

          • patupaiarehe

             /  September 2, 2017

            Sorry Pete, I thought the emojis indicated the spirit of my last post

  2. duperez

     /  September 2, 2017

    Two points after a cursory glance:
    “What the unions will say:
    It’s hard to judge teacher performance.
    It really isn’t. Students know who the best teachers are. Parents know who the best teachers are.”

    Is the extra money to be paid to those voted for by children and parents?

    “ACT’s proudest achievement is in introducing choice into education.”

    Is a basic part of choice having no zoning?

    • patupaiarehe

       /  September 2, 2017

      It’s hard to judge teacher performance.
      It really isn’t. Students know who the best teachers are. Parents know who the best teachers are.

      Patu Jr showed me this a few months back, some of the reviews are quite entertaining 😀

  3. Bill Courtney

     /  September 2, 2017

    I put out a release yesterday on just how poor the 2016 School Leavers stats are for the charter schools. Most disappointing are the 20.2% leaving without even getting NCEA Level 1 and the marked drop-off above Level 2. Here is the detail:

    “Figures just released by the Ministry of Education show that only 59.7% of charter school leavers left with NCEA L2 or above in 2016.

    This compares to a system-wide figure of 80.3% across all schools within the system in 2016. Looking more closely at specific groups, the system-level result for decile 3 schools was 74.3% and for Maori students, across all deciles, it was 66.5%.

    The School Leavers metric is used as the performance standard in the charter school contracts. Former Minister of Education, Hekia Parata, made her intentions clear when she said:

    “There is to be no compromise on the system level benchmarks”.

    (Source: Hand-written comment from the Minister on a Ministry of Education paper, dated 24 May 2013)

    The decile 3 system-level result for 2012 had been used as the baseline for the charter schools in their first year, i.e. 66.9% for the 2014 year. The contracts then set out a series of performance standards for subsequent years, culminating in the target of 85% of School Leavers attaining NCEA Level 2 or above by 2017. *

    Worryingly, even this poor performance masks a weak set of results overall.

    There were 124 School Leavers from charter schools in 2016 and this is the breakdown of the highest qualification they left school with:

    Qualification # students % of total

    Below Level 1 25 20.2%

    Level 1 25 20.2%

    Level 2 45 36.3%

    Level 3 14 11.3%

    UE 15 12.1%

    Given the hype around charter schools, it is disappointing to see that 20.2% of students left school in 2016 without even attaining NCEA Level 1.

    And at the top end, numbers above Level 2 fall away quite markedly:

    The proportion of School Leavers attaining NCEA Level 3 or above was 23.4% compared to 53.9% for the system as a whole. UE attainment is low, with a mere 15 students, or only 12.1% of School Leavers, attaining University Entrance, compared to a system-wide figure of 40.7%.

    As we await this year’s Ministry of Education evaluation of the charter schools, we are minded to note Hekia’s comment from 2013. Clearly, the New Zealand model of charter school is currently not achieving at anywhere near the system-level benchmarks that have been set for it.”

    • Good to hear from the teachers union to know that you’re not all on holiday but doing liebors bidding

      • Bill Courtney

         /  September 3, 2017

        Sorry George, but I’m not a teacher. Never have been.

  4. Patzcuaro

     /  September 2, 2017

    @ 1% in the polls the campaign launch borders on irrelevancy.

    • Not really. If they get up a little, which can happen with small parties late in a campaign and when National is weakening it’s as likely as any time, they could get another MP, possible 3 in total.

      • Pete Kane

         /  September 2, 2017

        Community Board level, look about it (with all due respect tp Community Boards).

    • duperez

       /  September 2, 2017

      Parties have launches to be relevant. The weird thing is the only place an Act person will be elected will be Epsom yet the people of Epsom didn’t need the launch one tiny bit.

      • Gezza

         /  September 2, 2017

        Not to worry. David can handle it. She’ll be right. 👍🏼

  5. Corky

     /  September 2, 2017

    Even with such an incentive the teacher unions just can’t change themselves. Hide bound ideologues whose only use is delivering a dumbed down generation ready to vote for a cool shelia with a great smile. Which of course was their purpose in the first place.

    I share Seymours frustration.

  6. Gezza

     /  September 2, 2017

    I missed this. Sounds like David was a hoot. Gonna have a look. Beats reading a certain someone else’s 🐞 gibberings.

    • Gezza

       /  September 2, 2017

      Fkn xlnt!

      If anybody didn’t see that minor party leaders debate it’s well worth the 44 minutes to do so.

      They managed to do well in spite of Lisa Owen managing to interrupt & make a tit of herself as usual. Needed to be longer – 70 – 80 minutes, with Q’s from floor maybe.

      Anybody with a brain capable of the most minimal function beyond the level of a 🐞 wanting to see David Seymour back in Parliament after watching that is a feckin eejit – desperately in need of close – & preferably secure – psychiatric management. Simple as that.

  7. It’s a shame that David Seymour doesn’t acknowledge the back story on ACT’s contribution to education. Heather Roy, as Associate Education Minister (2008 -2010) introduced Aspire Scholarships which still exist today (, conducted a review of special education and chaired an inter-party working group on school choice that underpinned much of Hekia Parata’s future policy (Hekia was a member of Heather’s working party 2009 – 2010). Sir Roger Douglas was a a member of that working party. Go back further and you find that much of what David is talking about was written by others including Richard Prebble, Deborah Coddington (see the book “Let Parents Choose”) and Muriel Newman.

    • Corky

       /  September 3, 2017

      You mention some great names there, Simon. Unfortunately individual excellence doesn’t cut the mustard. Collective mediocrity…now you are talking.

    • Gezza

       /  September 3, 2017

      In that leaders’ debate David Seymour presents as a complete idiot.

      * Actually, correction – an incomplete idiot might be more accurate?
      Good to see, tho.