7 Dec 2023

Government softens stance on extra pay for te reo speakers

From Morning Report, 8:19 am on 7 December 2023

The government has softened its stance on wanting to end extra pay for public service employees who are fluent in te reo Māori.

Some public service workers are eligible for allowances of up to $3,500 per year, depending on their proficiency in te reo.

Public Service Minister Nicola Willis says National doesn't support the bonuses, and wouldn't have implemented them, but has little choice but to keep them when they're listed in collective agreements.

She clarified on Wednesday that the government is opposed only when speaking te reo isn't relevant to the job.

The Māori Language Commission, Te Taura Whiri, says it would be a great shame for the allowances to end.

Māori Language Commission chief executive Ngahiwi Apanui spoke to Corin Dann.