Presidential Elections 2021
Voting for the positions of president and junior vice-president is being conducted online in early Term 4. This is a change to previous years and one that is being made due to uncertainty around COVID-19 levels, and the potential health and safety issues associated with running paper-based voting.
PPTA has received two nominations for president and two for junior vice-president. Each candidate explains why they should be elected. Voting closes 5pm, Friday 29 October.
Presidential and junior vice-presidential candidate Miles Langdon – Macleans College
I see remuneration as the key to retaining and recruiting quality staff. Small increases we fight tooth and nail for seem to be consumed by inflation, and/or a hike in fees. Women need to be supported more in the profession but so too do men – given that, for various reasons, the proportion of men in secondary teaching is reducing. Māori, Pasifika teachers, LGBTQ+ teachers, women teachers should all be encouraged to move ahead in the profession, but I just don’t think it should be at the expense of collectivism of the union. We need to stand together on the issue of fighting for more pay.
Secondary teachers also need to stand apart from our primary/kindergarten colleagues. For years they have taken advantage of a clause in their contract which requires the government to offer them whatever is offered to us. This has undermined the dignity or ‘mana’ of the secondary profession.
NCEA continues to be a vexed issue. Proposed changes to the structure of it don’t seem to do anything to lessen teacher workload. The writing, assessment and moderation of internals can be very onerous.
The conference paper “A home for everyone” is an issue the PPTA could take the initiative on and propel the homelessness and dire living arrangements of many in NZ into the spotlight. Many state servants (Nurses, Police, Teachers) are being excluded from the property market simply because wages are not conducive to saving for a deposit. In fact the PPTA has a role to play here; in pushing for the right for all working class NZrs to own their own home.
Finally, if I was elected I would commit myself to raising the status of secondary teaching in NZ to make it a sought after profession with competitive wages and more diverse. A career that reflects and embellishes NZ’s cultural, social and ethnic diversity.
Presidential candidate Melanie Webber – Current PPTA Te Wehengarua President
We are living in curious times. I’m writing this from Level 4 lockdown, so the uncertainty that I am sure will still be looming over us as you read this is heavy on me now. Last year I wrote my statement from the midst of a Level 3 lockdown in Tāmaki Makaurau and the uncertainty was no less then.
In that statement I spoke about how the issues that seemed so big at the start of 2020 - the NCEA review, a grasping Teaching Council, school funding inequities and making the promises of the accord real - were no smaller then but had been overshadowed by COVID-19.
I said that wasn’t to say that these things were unimportant, and we must not take our eye off them as things changed so quickly around us. We needed to continue to make sure that teacher voice, the professional voice, was heard loud and clear when decisions are being made.
We have done that, and we continue to do that. I spent much of the last week in between meetings watching hundreds of our members represent our views on the teaching council to the select committee. I was so, so proud of our members. Their passion and their rhetoric. Their ability to stand up for our profession.
I am passionate about public education, and I am passionate about teaching. I want the best possible education system for students, and this doesn’t happen without making sure that we first have the best possible system and conditions for teachers.
Now more than ever we need to be speaking up for what is right for schools, for students and for teachers. I am proud to be a part of a union that does this, and I would be proud to be chosen to speak on your behalf.
Me mahi tahi tātou mō te oranga o te katoa. We must work together for the wellbeing of all.
Junior vice-presidential candidate Chris Abercrombie – James Hargest College
Having had the experience of working in a range of schools and in different areas of New Zealand, I have an appreciation of the many pressures that we face around the motu.
These pressures are coming to a head in the next year with the NCEA changes, the Curriculum Refresh, and the Collective negotiations. With my role as JVP and acting President in Term Two of this year, I have relished the chance to gain the experience needed to fight for members at this time of great change.
I believe that I can be a strong voice who reflects the diversity of experience of teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand. I understand the many obstacles and concerns we face in our daily working lives. I’ve also felt the incredible joy and sense of pride that we all have as teachers within our classrooms and schools.
We share in this journey; we are all paddling in the same waka. Every school - from Te Tai Tokerau Northland, all the way down to the bottom of Te Waipounamu (where I live) - should have what they need. To have what they need, so that they can truly bring out the best - in their teachers, in their students, and in their communities.
When we work together, we can do that.