Direct talks between the government and the primary teachers' union have failed to find a solution to the deadlock in teachers' pay talks before schools start reopening next week.
New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) president Lynda Stuart said the union met with Education Minister Chris Hipkins to discuss the impasse, which resulted in two strikes by the union's members last year.
Ms Stuart said the union held the meeting with the government "because they're the ones that have to make the decisions".
However, Mr Hipkins told RNZ he had told the union the government would not increase the $1.2 billion value of the most recent offers made to primary teachers and principals and, separately, to secondary teachers last year.
The offers included three pay rises of three percent each for most teachers and were rejected by members of the NZEI and members of the Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) last year.
Teachers and principals told RNZ at the time that they wanted a bigger pay rise, but also lighter workloads through smaller class sizes and increased release time from the classroom.
The government's refusal to provide more funding for the pay deals raises the possibility of a combined industrial campaign by the NZEI and PPTA.
However, Ms Stuart said the NZEI would need to ballot members before calling any further industrial action.
PPTA president Jack Boyle said the union had further negotiations scheduled with the Education Ministry next week.
Mr Boyle said the ministry needed to come up with a better offer including better conditions and a bigger pay rise.
"It's not really up to me, but certainly if you look at what the principals were saying last year, and they were saying 10 percent and that wasn't over a three-year term, that's obviously closer to where we need to be talking," he said.
"I obviously can't say the members will take this or won't, that's going to be up to them, but we need to see some movement."
The PPTA entered negotiations seeking a 15 percent pay rise, while the NZEI asked for an increase of 16 percent over two years.