7 Apr 2014

Govt rejects claim on te reo agencies

8:35 am on 7 April 2014

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples is rejecting an accusation by the Mana Party that the Government wants to axe two Maori language agencies.

Pita Sharples

Pita Sharples back kapa haka Photo: RNZ

The Mana Party says rumours are circulating that the Crown plans to get rid of the Maori Language Commission and the Maori Broadcasting Funding Agency.

It understands the Government wants to hand over their responsibilities to a single organisation, whose leaders would be appointed by politicians.

Dr Sharples says he is considering a single umbrella organisation for the agencies under his te reo strategy but says the Mana Party is wrong to suggest the agencies would be axed.

Dr Sharples says his bill, which he's refining, has come from public feedback.

He says the power behind a new entity would be devolved down to iwi level, made up of iwi representatives from the seven Maori wards.

New Zealand's largest iwi Ngapuhi agrees, saying the two organisations are failing to protect the language and should be replaced with an iwi-run organisation.

Ngapuhi says iwi are more than ready to take on the new role, as the number of reo speakers is continuing to decline.