The cracks in the Coalition Government are deepening by the day, with the Prime Minister at odds with not only the Greens, but members of her own caucus who have since been threatened by the Deputy Prime Minister if they don’t back down on compulsory Te Reo.
“Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta has made it clear she wants to see the Green Party’s policy to make Te Reo compulsory taken up,” National’s Education Spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“That puts her at odds with the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, but she’s not the only one.
“Associate Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson has said he doesn’t see any difference between compulsory and universally available, and he considers the Government’s policy to mean Te Reo is compulsory.
“And now we have Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters threatening that Nanaia and Willie should be out of government if they don’t back down.
“National’s policy is for Te Reo to be universally available. We announced at the last election that we would invest $160 million over four years to ensure all children have the opportunity to learn a second language at primary school, if they choose to. That policy is currently being progressed as a Members’ Bill.
“My Members’ Bill currently in the ballot ensures that all children in years 1-8 have universal access to learn a second language, including Te Reo. It makes it clear that Te Reo is to be a national priority language and that resources must be available to any school that wants teach it and any child that wants to learn it.
“The number of students learning Te Reo increased around 30,000 between 2010 and 2016. However, there is more to do and one of the key issues we need to address is access to Te Reo teachers and resourcing.
“I am happy to work with the Government to support my Members’ Bill to Select Committee so that the public can have their say on the importance of increasing the number of young people learning Te Reo and other languages.”