Nga mihi nui kia koutou

Happy New Year and I hope you have all had a great start to 2017. I am certainly looking forward to the year ahead.

Over the break I had the chance to spend time with family and friends and also reflect on the 2016 year. Many challenges were thrown our way with Special Education updates, the Education Legislation Bill, the Education Ammendment Act, contract negotiations and of course the Funding Review. NZEI Te Riu Roa members can be very proud of the work  that happened over the year and that the year ended with the huge win over the global budget. There is no doubt that this happened because of the work of our members, not only at Paid Union Meetings but in the conversations in our schools, centres and households with our communities and families. These conversations continue to be key to ensuring that we retain a strong and vibrant quality public education system. Our huge win with the career framework undertaking can also not be underestimated. This gives us yet  again the opportunity to address many of the issues that we face.

The year ahead will be challenging year for us all, with the lack of funding being at the core of our struggles. We see this in our Early Childhood centres, our Support Staff conditions, the resourcing for children with special needs, the operations grant freeze, staffing shortages and property upgrades.

Over 2017,  we have the chance to work together to keep these issues in the forefront of people’s minds by continuing conversations that we have started with our communities. It will take every single one of us to do this. I have certainly signed up for this and am ready but I absolutely need every one of you to walk beside me.

Ma whero ma pango ka oti ai te mahi

With red and black the work will be complete