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Māori language bill needs work

 It is clear that the first draft of the Māori Language Bill was about structures and funding rather than the survival of te reo Māori, Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. 

“Labour is pleased that the Minister of Māori Affairs has agreed that the Bill needs more work and we have decided to delay the select committee process in order for this to happen.

 “It is our strong view that a Maori Language Strategy must be developed by our language experts, iwi and educators and that policies and funding decisions can be informed by this strategy. That is the first step. 

“However the second step, which is what the Bill covers, is how specific funding decisions will be made and who will be the decision-makers. 

“The glaring omission is that funding for te reo outcomes in the education sector is not covered and the recognition that iwi investment in building te reo capacity is different throughout the country. 

“As the select committee grapples with limited scope of the current Bill, Labour will be seeking to work constructively to ensure that all the issues of funding and implementing policies to grow and enhance te reo can be achieved,” says Nanaia Mahuta. 

“Labour anticipates that the Minister will want to get this right as te reo Māori is far too important for political point scoring.”