Topic: Te Reo Māori

Māori Language Bill takes off under Flavell

By Maiki Sherman

The Opposition claim its concerns have been allayed over the process for the new Māori Language Bill, after the Māori Development Minister, Te Ururoa Flavell appeared before the Māori Affairs Select Committee (MASC).

The Bill has been strongly debated on both sides of Parliament, but the new plan by the new minister has put that to rest.

Te Ururoa Flavell certainly deserves some kudos.  It is known that Flavell inherited the Bill from former Minister Dr Pita Sharples, a Bill that has been consumed with criticism from the outset.  That seems to be changing under Flavell.

The Opposition also deserve a nod as they understand the language is worth more than political point scoring.

It's the Minister's first test before the Māori Affairs Select Committee and he certainly did his homework.

“There were no challenges, just questions, but that's the nature of Parliament,” says Flavell.

Despite it being a closed committee, the criticism over the Māori Language Bill has certainly been public.  MASC's main concern being the Minister's advisory committee.

Labour's Tāmaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare says, “If his committee's views are different to those of our committee, how will he resolve that?”

However, the Minister scored a mark of excellence having solved the problem.

“At the end of May, the report by the advisory committee will be given to them (MASC).  They can discuss it and write their report and submit it to the House,” says Flavell.

Indeed, it's the age-old spat between the oldest and the youngest.

It seems the new Bill isn't the only controversy though, so too is the language.  Complaints have been sent to TV3 over the use of Māori language in their weather segment.

The solution perhaps is the Māori language strategy within the new Bill.

The Minister Te Ururoa Flavell has appointed another advisory committee for the Māori Land Act.  The aim of the committee is to come up with a strategy that will see the implementation of a new Maori Land Act.

Last year, Chris Finlayson launched that review.  The members of the committee appointed today are Kingi Smiler, who is the chair, Matanuku Mahuika, Traci Houpapa, Spencer Webster, Linda Te Aho, Sacha McMeeking and Dr Tanira Kingi.