The Māori Language Bill looks set to flounder in Parliament as the Māori Party loses its way, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta.
“From the beginning Labour has highlighted that there are several gaps in the Bill. With an issue as significant as the growth and protection of Māori language, we need to be absolutely clear about the responsibility of the Crown and Iwi.
“The Māori Affairs Select Committee have started to hear submissions and if the Minister intends to change the purpose of the Bill then he should either pull it from the committee or work with Labour to ensure that valuable committee time will not be wasted.
"Our committee has already heard some compelling issues that show that there are holes in this Bill. They raise the question whether this is about Māori language or a new layer of bureaucracy," says Associate Māori Development spokesperson Peeni Henare.
“We are keen to work constructively but a separate process advanced by the Minister does not build confidence that te Reo is a taonga for which we all have a responsibility.
“The most important aim is to ensure that whanau, hapu and Māori initiatives are supported so that our language flourishes.
“By accepting a dual process, the Minister misses a genuine opportunity for collaborative work across the House and alongside other Māori members to ensure that the best possible outcome can be achieved,” says Peeni Henare.