Auckland proving too expensive for teachers



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"I can't move out of my parents’ place as I can’t afford the rent and travel," stated one teacher in a recent survey of Auckland  teachers, that revealed many younger teachers are planning to leave teaching, leave Auckland and are even putting off having children.

"Auckland is too expensive. Half of my wages goes on rent and what's left is crumbs," commented another. Other respondents talked of looking at getting a second job and of being "slaves to our mortgage".

The survey, run by NZEI Te Riu Roa, asked Auckland primary and intermediate teachers how the cost of housing in Auckland was affecting them professionally. Of the 450 responses, over two thirds are thinking about or actively planning to leave Auckland, while 94 per cent of male teachers under 35 are thinking about or definitely leaving Auckland.

Just under two-thirds of new educators surveyed have given up hope of ever owning their own home and 40 per cent of female teachers under 30 are deferring having their own children due to the high cost of living in Auckland.

Malcolm Milner, Balmoral School principal and NZEI strategist on Auckland issues says teachers have been warning about a teacher shortage in Auckland and it's now beyond time for action.

"As a principal it’s devastating to think that Auckland is set to lose a generation of talented, dedicated teachers because they can’t afford to live here.

"It’s not our job to develop a plan for recruiting and retaining teachers in Auckland and other hard to staff areas – it’s the Government's job.

"Any plan will need to address workforce planning - how many teachers we need and where they're going to come from; ways to raise the status of teaching; teacher pay and conditions. We strongly feel that pay is too low, and the cost and provision of housing is a significant factor.

"This election is an opportunity to fix the underfunding of education and the teacher shortage. We want to make education central to the election. We believe New Zealanders will be looking to support parties that are prepared to back public education and educators," said Mr Milner.


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