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Labour calls on Sharples to withdraw Te Reo Bill

Labour is calling on Pita Sharples to immediately withdraw his Bill to overhaul the governance of Te Reo Māori, Labour’s Maori Affairs spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.

“The Māori Affairs Minister’s attempt to rush through deficient legislation is cynical politics and is unacceptable.

“The proposed Te Matawai agency will effectively replace the Maori Language Commission for no good reason and without any evidence it will protect Te Reo Maori. 

“The Maori Language Act was a result of a Waitangi Tribunal claim which sought to protect and enhance Te Reo Maori as a taonga and a significant reference point for Maori culture and identity.

“Sadly the Maori Party wants to change that legislation with no proof the establishment of Te Matawai is consistent with the original purpose of the Maori Language Act.

“This issue requires a broad consensus amongst Maori and across the political spectrum to ensure the language can be sustained for future generations.

“Our education system is an important contributor to the survival of Te Reo Maori alongside Maori Television, Iwi radio and Iwi language strategies.

“The future of Te Reo Māori is too important to play games with and the Minister should immediately withdraw his Bill,” Nanaia Mahuta says.