During the 1990s, a succession of national governments (in which English was a member) cut secondary teacher numbers (1991/2 and 1994/5) and allowed the secondary teacher salary rate to fall to a low of 1.32 times the average wage, creating the damaging teacher shortage in the mid-90's.
National were forced into a temporary salary boost in 1996, lifting the TBS to 1.43 times the average wage, still significantly below the comparative rate in the Muldoon years. From then they allowed the relative rate to steadily fall again.
When Labour took control of the front benches in 1999 it was faced with ongoing and systemic teacher supply problems. A pitiful pay offer in 2001 completely misread the teacher supply situation and led to widespread industrial action when schools found themselves unable to attract or retain staff at that pay rate. An independent panel chaired by Dame Margaret Bazely was convened to look at the evidence provided by both sides in the dispute and recommended a staged 13% increase in the rate.