Nationwide meetings for primary principals and teachers starton Monday, as NZEI Te Riu Roa members vote on whether to accept the Ministry of Education's pay offers or reject them and take industrial action.

The first meeting will be held at Manukau's Vodafone Arena on Monday 18 June,  with up to 2000 primary teachers expected to attend. There is increasing concern among teachers and principals that their students will suffer if major issues around teacher shortages and support for additional learning needs are not adequately addressed.

Over the next two weeks, until 29 June, large meetings will be held all over the country and media are invited to attend for the initial part of the meetings.

If they vote to reject the ministry's offers, teachers and principals will vote on whether to hold nationwide half-day work stoppages from 1:30-4:30pm on 15 August. This would effectively result in half-day school closures. During the stoppages, members would attend union meetings to consider any further developments or offers.

Lead negotiator for primary teachers' collective agreement Liam Rutherford said: “Members call the shots on this – it is up to teachers as to whether they accept the Ministry’s offers or reject it and take industrial action.”

Lead negotiator for the primary principals' collective agreement Louise Green said: “After a decade of neglect under the previous government, there are significant issues facing education, including a growing teacher shortage, stress and workload problems, and under-resourcing. Children with additional learning needs are not getting their needs met. Principals and teachers have these issues weighing heavily on their minds as they head to their union meetings.”