[lg policy] Winston Peters tells ministers touting compulsory te reo to get 'on the same page'
haroldfs at gmail.com
Tue May 8 10:19:34 EDT 2018
Winston Peters tells ministers touting compulsory te reo to get 'on the
Last updated 19:11, May 8 2018
The Maori Development Minister said today New Zealand is ready, “it's just
the education system isn't”.
NZ First leader Winston Peters says if Nanaia Mahuta and Willie Jackson
want to be in the Government they will need to watch their words.
Māori Development Minister Mahuta said compulsory te reo in schools was a
matter of "not if but going to be when" on Tuesday morning.
This was a slight shift from the Government's current policy, which only
calls for "universal availability" and integration of Te Reo into the
primary school curriculum by 2025. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has
specifically avoided the word "compulsory."
[image: Winston Peters opposes compulsary te reo being used as a Government
Winston Peters opposes compulsary te reo being used as a Government policy.
Associate Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson made a similar slip up
*READ MORE: * Prime Minister and Māori MP Willie Jackson at odds over
compulsory Te Reo
* Māori Party says Labour's te reo plan lacks vision
* Greens lay out plan for compulsory te reo
* I was too lazy for te reo Māori - Changing a habit of a lifetime
* Why Stuff is introducing macrons for te reo Māori words
Peters, the deputy prime minister and leader of NZ First - who oppose
compulsory te reo - issued a sharp rebuke towards Mahuta and Jackson on
[image: Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta: "In order to deliver on
compulsory te reo Maori we would have to increase the ...]
Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta: "In order to deliver on
compulsory te reo Maori we would have to increase the number of Maori
teachers in our schools."
"Neither of them are speaking for the Government policy full stop," Peters
"If they want to be in this Government they'll be on the same page."
Peters did however leave open a gap for Mahuta's comments to be acceptable,
saying comments about future policy were different.
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"People are entitled to voice their opinion on things, they might think
downstream some time in the history of this country this might be something
that's happening, but as for something that's happening now: No."
On Monday Ardern repeatedly failed to endorse the Green Party's calls for
te reo to be made compulsory, saying "universally available needs to be the
first step" in answer to questions about her support for it.
During the election campaign Ardern said that she would want to "keep that
conversation going" once te reo was universally available in 2025.
But on Tuesday morning Mahuta made clear what that first step was towards
in her mind - compulsory Te Reo.
"In order to deliver on compulsory te reo Maori we would have to increase
the number of Maori teachers in our schools," Mahuta said.
Asked directly if that meant compulsory te reo was the end goal Mahuta
said "I think it's only a matter of time".
"We need to ensure we have the pool of teachers available so they are able
to go into schools to be able to teach te reo Māori," Mahuta said.
"If we look at mainstream schools like King's College, who have already
made a commitment to compulsory Māori to Year 9, that's a signal that New
Zealand is ready, it's just that the education system isn't."
This isn't the first time a Labour minister has drifted slightly from the
party line on whether or not Te Reo would be compulsory.
Jackson said in December he "didn't think it was a difference" between
compulsory and universally available.
"It depends how you look at it, we look at it as compulsory," he said.
But NZ First minister Shane Jones said his party were against making the
"Read my lips: Our party has no ambition to make te reo Māori compulsory in
Invercargill or in any other schooling committee," Jones said.
"It is not something that we campaigned on. I cannot account for the
different interpretations between the Minister of Māori Affairs and the
"We are not antagonistic to the reo, but we know that if we move straight
into any sort of compulsion Anglo boils and warts will emerge."
The incoming briefing to Mahuta revealed that in 2013 just 21.3 per cent of
the Māori population were able to hold an everyday conversation in Te Reo
and that number was dropping. If the trend continued only 12 per cent
of Māori would be able to speak Te Reo by 2038.
The Green Party's policy, which its new co-leader Marama Davidson is
pushing strongly for, is to make Te Reo compulsory in all public primary
and secondary schools by 2030.
National's education spokeswoman Nikki Kaye said clarification was needed.
"Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta has made it clear she wants to
see the Green Party's policy to make Te Reo compulsory taken up," Kaye said.
"That puts her at odds with the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister."
Harold F. Schiffman
Professor Emeritus of
Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
Phone: (215) 898-7475
Fax: (215) 573-2138
Email: haroldfs at gmail.com
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