Aide: I’m happy to be pa­tient

The New Zealand Herald - - News -

Ma­nurewa teacher aide Mina Tam­a­toa is de­lighted to see higher teacher aide fund­ing in the Bud­get — and re­signed that it will take a few years to come through.

“Things can’t hap­pen overnight . . . You’ve just got to be pa­tient,” she said.

Tam­a­toa earns $16.68 an hour — just 18c above the min­i­mum wage — as a teacher aide at Rowan­dale School, where three of her four chil­dren are stu­dents.

Anne Mack­in­tosh is prin­ci­pal at Tau­ranga’s Greer­ton Vil­lage School, which faces a $118,000 deficit be­cause state fund­ing for teacher aides is less than the ac­tual pay rates. She said the cur­rent of­fi­cial fund­ing rate of $18.47 an hour was ac­tu­ally $16.06 af­ter de­duct­ing GST, ACC levies, hol­i­day pay and sick leave.

As­so­ciate Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Tracey Martin said the Bud­get would lift that “in phases” — “from $16 to $18 in 2019-20, $19 in 2020-21 and $20 in 2021-22”.

“We know this is only a step and it’s what we could do at this stage,” she said. “The big­ger changes will come when we ad­dress the sys­tem and struc­tural is­sues around learn­ing sup­port.”

The Bud­get also adds an ex­tra 1000 chil­dren to the On­go­ing Re­sourc­ing Scheme (ORS).

“Those kids do need the ex­tra help. That’s great for us as teacher aides,” said Tam­a­toa.

Tam­a­toa and her hus­band, me­chanic Michael Tam­a­toa, are al­ready in a very-low-cost health ser­vice and their chil­dren are all un­der 13, so they will not get any im­me­di­ate ben­e­fit from ex­tend­ing health sub­si­dies to fam­i­lies with com­mu­nity ser­vices cards and to 13-year-olds. But they are “very happy” with those changes which will help when their chil­dren get older.

“That’s good for us, we are not hav­ing to worry about pay­ing for tak­ing our chil­dren to the doc­tor,” Mina Tam­a­toa said.

The fam­ily is also pleased to see more state hous­ing and more po­lice.

Photo / Ja­son Ox­en­ham

The Tam­a­toas, Az­lyn (left), 9, mum Mina, Laekim, 7, Ser­rin, 5, dad Michael and Ilys, 11 months.

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