28 Jul 2014

Public to have say on controversial bill

8:49 pm on 28 July 2014

Public submissions are being sought on the controversial Maori Language Bill, which aims to revitalise Te Reo by giving iwi responsibility for its development.

The bill has had its first reading in Parliament and been referred to a select committee.

The aim of the bill is to repeal the Maori Language Act 1987 and amend the Maori Television Service, Te Aratuku Whakaata Irirangi Maori Act 2003.

Under the proposal, a new body called Te Matawai will lead and direct Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Maori, Te Mangai Paho, and absorb the role of Te Putahi Paoho, Maori Television's Electoral College.

As part of the bill, iwi and Maori language stakeholder organisations would appoint 10 members to Te Matawai and the Crown would appoint two.

The Labour Party, Mana Movement and the Maori Council all oppose the bill.

Mana says the setting up of Te Matawai would create a brown bureaucracy. However, Pita Sharples is defending the proposal and says he has strong support from tribes.