15 August 2018, Wellington, New Zealand
And welcome to your place.
You know I wasn’t scheduled to be here. But I was sitting up in that office in a meeting, and I could see you streaming towards parliament, and I thought, I cannot not be here.
Because the thought that I had as a I watched you coming onto the forecourt, I didn’t have this sense of them and us, I just had this sense of us.
You know, you’re all here because you’re passionate about kids. And you know, as we know, that the education system has the power to overcome so many of the issues and challenges that we face as a country.
I mean you’re at the front line of that.
And we know that too.
There’s a reason that I put myself into the portfolio of Minister of Child Poverty Reduction, because I believe and I know that my main motivation in politics is kids.
Just like your motivation in what you do is kids.
There is no you and us, there is only us.
And if there is only us, that means we have to take on board every challenge that you have raised.
Now there are very few signs out there that I don’t agree with. I’m looking out there and I’m thinking, ‘yes, there is so much more work to do’
The last speaker said we need radical change. Yes! The only point we would make is that unfortunately sometimes radical change takes time.
So I’m here today to ask you to work with us as we try and move forward.
Yes when we came into office we tried to move as quickly as we could on the things that we knew that you’d been asking for for along time.
National standards, we got rid of that. Not for political ideology, but because teachers at the front line said this is not good for kids.
And we listened to you. And we believed it too.
And it’s not just about a framework, we know it was also putting a huge pressure on your workload.
And so one of the things that sometimes doesn’t get through in these debates and in these public discussions, is that yes, it’s about value, and when we value people we often equate that with money.
But it’s also about the time we give you with kids.
It’s about the professional development, it’s about that non contact time and it’s about the workload that you experience, it’s about all of that.
So I’m here with the Minister and the rest of my colleagues behind that to say we know that there’s a lot to do. And we want to work with you as we do it.
Thank you for the work that you do. Thank you for joining with us, and pursuing lifting kids and #, you’re at the front of that, and there is a good reason why when I was sworn into parliament, it was my social studies teacher who was there with me.
And when I was made Prime Minister, it was my social studies teacher who stood with me when I signed that warrant of responsibility.
I know teachers how each and every one of us get to where we are today, this is about respecting your profession. We hear that. We will keep working with you. But in the meantime, thank you for what you for all of us.