PRESS RELEASE | Erica Stanford MP | 12 January 2022 -
Government own-goal will cost students
As teacher shortages mount, National is again calling for COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins to urgently act and allocate MIQ spots for the teachers that he announced would be able to enter the country last July, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.
“National called on Minister Hipkins to allocate MIQ spaces for teachers last year, but he has sat back and done nothing. Now the situation is desperate.
“With only a handful of teachers having actually arrived in New Zealand under this policy, the Government has created huge stress for schools who now need to find replacement teachers for term 1.
“Recent MIQ room allocations were for the second quarter of 2022, and teachers will still have to win a place in the MIQ lottery to get in for the start of term 2. With teacher shortages in STEM subjects, the failure in getting teachers here will be hugely disruptive for students.
“This border exception policy was announced in July last year, but the Government moved with glacial pace to set up the application system which finally opened in November, with further amendments in late December. This was never enough time for recruitment, visa processing and MIQ booking, especially with the Christmas break coming in to play. Now the vast majority of these teachers won’t be in front of kids until term 2, ten months after the policy was announced.
“To no surprise in December last year, the Secretary for Education shockingly admitted that no teachers had actually arrived because they couldn’t get spaces in MIQ. To make matters worse, she said teachers likely wouldn’t arrive until term 2.
“Chris Hipkins’ inaction as COVID-19 Response Minister is costing the very same students he is supposed to be supporting as Education Minister.
“The Minister must act immediately and set aside spaces for these incoming teachers so that they can begin as close to the beginning of term 1 as possible.
“This situation was entirely predictable. It is unacceptable that the Minister didn’t set up the process to get teachers in to New Zealand prior to November 1 or allocate MIQ spots. Students around NZ, who have already been heavily affected by lockdowns, will now pay the price for his incompetence.”