Primary school teachers say government employment negotiations have been conducted in bad faith, with the Ministry of Education not prepared to shift the value of its offer.
The latest round of negotiations by the primary teachers union ended this week with the ministry offering its original package of pay rises, totalling $698 million.
The ministry says the sum could be divided in different ways - the latest offer reduces raises, but adds extra non-contact hours.
It has also offered an alternative package combining smaller pay rises with 10 extra hours time for teachers to do work outside classes each term.
Paul Goulter from the New Zealand Educational Institute, the union for primary school teachers, says that members were unhappy with the negotiations.
"We call that take it or leave it bargaining and that's absolutely not the way negotiations should be conducted. It's condescending and our members absolutely reject it," says Paul.
"It demonstrates no interest at all in settling the dispute and it completely ignores the fact that we have a staffing crisis in New Zealand's education system."
However, the ministry says its latest offer was ''handsome and competitive''.
Ellen MacGregor-Reid from the ministry says the $698m was the total amount available for bargaining, but union demands added up to $2.5 billion.
She says primary school retention rates were high, and the number of people training to be teachers has increased.
The union will vote in two weeks on whether to accept the offer, or whether to strike the same day as a secondary school teachers strike, on 3 April.