The Government is introducing a bill to amend the fee setting powers for the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (the Council) following a ruling from the High Court about the limits of those powers.
The Education and Training (Teaching Council Fees) Amendment Bill clarifies the scope of the fees the Council can charge for registration and practicing certificates for early childhood, primary, and secondary school teachers.
“This Bill provides legal certainty to teachers and the Council on the status of fees that have currently and previously been collected. It will make the Council’s fee-setting powers consistent with other self-funding professional regulatory bodies,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said.
The Council is expected to operate on a fully self-funded basis, but is only explicitly authorised under the Education and Training Act 2020 to recover some of its costs through the fees it charges teachers. This is not intentional – rather, a technical error in the legislation, which the amendment corrects.
The Bill also supports the financial sustainability of the Council by:
allowing the Council to retain fees received from 1 February 2021, and to use them as part-payment towards the previous (now current) fees,
validating any decisions the Council, or its predecessor organisations took prior to 2020 in setting fees,
enabling the Council to charge a fee, and require payment, in instalments, and
allowing the Council to recover debts for unpaid fees.
“These changes will help the Teaching Council maintain its financial sustainability, while performing its essential functions: ensuring the quality of teaching and safety of learners, while giving certainty to teachers,” Chris Hipkins says.
In 2021, the Council sought to increase the base fee for a practising certificate from $220.80 for a three-year certificate to $157 for an annual certificate. This fee increase, of $249.20 over a three-year-period, was quashed by the High Court at Wellington in June 2021.
Approximately 13,000 teachers were issued with annual practising certificates and they have now been issued with a three-year certificate by the Council. The Council’s fees for practising certificates had not increased since 2010.
About the Teaching Council:
The Teaching Council is an independent professional body representing teachers from early childhood education through to primary and secondary, in English and Māori medium schools. It promotes good teaching practice and provides registration and disciplinary functions.
Information about the Teaching Council can be found at https://teachingcouncil.nz/.