Māori politicians have criticised Māori Television for wanting higher reo competence among staff. Two receptionists will need to reapply for their positions, which now include Māori language competency.
According to Labour MP Peeni Henare, “If this is the case for workers at Māori Television, it is only right that executives and managers are also fluent speakers of the Māori language.”
NZ First Leader Winston Peters says, “Why have two rules, one separate from the board, another for loyal staff?”
The two receptionist roles at the network have been restructured to include a higher competency in te reo. Māori Television says the present receptionists may choose to reapply and that:
- This a reflection of Māori Television's commitment to increasing the status and visibility of te reo Māori.
- All staff have the opportunity to learn te reo. Māori Television has set itself the aspirational goal of having a bilingual workforce by 2020.
But politicians say te reo can't work without tikanga.
Māori Party MP Marama Fox says, “Regardless of the ups and downs of those learning to speak the Māori language, where is the compassion and empathy for our people who aren't at fault?”
Māori Television staff are provided with te reo Māori and kapa haka lessons within work hours as part of their professional development. But the choice is theirs.