Govt must act on calls for national language policy

The Government is under increasing pressure to adopt a comprehensive language policy, says Rajen Prasad, Labour’s spokesperson for Ethnic Affairs and Su’a William Sio, Labour’s spokesperson for Pacific Island Affairs.

“In the second report in just a week, the Government is being urged to develop a broader language policy.

“The Royal Society’s launch of its paper on Languages in Aotearoa New Zealand, comes off the back of a comprehensive UN report on the on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in New Zealand, which also cautioned the Government about the effects of its lacklustre language policy.

“The Government should use the momentum generated by these reports to spur its language policy forward,” Rajen Prasad said.

“The Royal Society’s Professors Paul Spoonley and Richard Bedford are spot on, New Zealand is a ‘superdiverse’ country, and our cultural complexity needs to be reflected in the way we fund and preserve languages.

“Ethnic New Zealanders should be empowered to grow up with a strong ethnic as well as a New Zealand identity. Language is the soul of this diversity and it cannot be left to individual ethnic families to inculcate and promote,” Rajen Prasad said.

“The Royal Society has provided a very strong rational for the development of a languages policy for New Zealand.

“Having more than one language under your belt opens doors for our kids,” Su’a William Sio said.

“As a Pacific nation New Zealand has an obligation to protect and preserve the languages of the Pacific. The Government needs to respond to the issues raised in these reports, and spur our languages policy forward,” Su’a William Sio said.