The ‘Forrest Gump’ government continues to fight amongst themselves

I’m starting to believe that the government should be called the ‘Forrest Gump’ government. In the movie Forrest Gump says life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.

Well, this government is the same…they don’t even know what they are going to get. Now they are fighting amongst themselves over forcing children to learn Te Reo.

The Prime Minister and one of her senior Maori MPs are on different pages over compulsory Te Reo Māori in schools.

Willie Jackson, who is associate Māori Development Minister and chair of the Māori caucus, says the language will be compulsory for all New Zealanders by 2025, but that’s not what the Government’s policy is.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there’s a shortage of Te Reo teachers and the focus for the Government was on making it “universally available”, which is what they campaigned on.

But Jackson says he “didn’t think it was a difference” between compulsory or universally available and he thought Labour “wanted every New Zealand child picking it up by 2025”.

“It depends how you look at it, we look at it as compulsory,” he said.

“What we’re saying is it has to be in all the schools by 2025 and that it’s got to be picked up by all the schools in 2025. When we did that policy we were very clear about it. Others wanted to say other things but we always saw it when we rolled the policy out that all New Zealanders will be learning the language by 2025.”

Of all the things that need fixing in New Zealand, these muppets think that learning Te Reo is a priority. I would have thought addressing Maori child abuse would have had a higher priority.

Jackson’s interpretation of the policy is more in line with the Green Party’s position, which is to implement Te Reo Māori as a core curriculum subject in all public primary and secondary schools by 2030.

Ardern says Labour’s policy is different from the Greens because her focus is making sure “it’s realistic”.

“Unless we keep investing in Te Reo teachers then that goal is hard. We want to make sure we’ve got the foundations there.”

“I absolutely believe universal availability will make a difference. How can we increase the uptake of Te Reo if we don’t have enough teachers?”

Is she saying that Willie Jackson is un-realistic? I think she is.

The incoming briefing to the Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta revealed 25.1 per cent of the Māori population were able to hold an everyday conversation in Te Reo and by 2013 that had dropped to 21.3 per cent.

That scenario meant by 2038 only 12 per cent of Māori will speak Te Reo, which ministry officials said would leave speakers feeling “isolated and the language more vulnerable”.

If Maori don’t want to learn and speak their OWN language then why should anyone else?

Jackson said there had been many strategies for increasing the use of the language but it was a “constant struggle”.

“But I have faith we’re going to come up with the right strategy.”

Jackson wasn’t concerned about the rhetoric from well-known New Zealanders, including former National Party leader Don Brash, that too much Te Reo Māori was used by broadcasters, such as Radio New Zealand.

“New Zealanders have grown up, they’ve matured, they’re sick of the Don Brash rhetoric and we’re confident that we’re going to get New Zealanders’ support.

“We’re talking eight years away and it’s a sustained campaign between now and 2025,” he said.

Yeah Willie, nah. Push this hard and see where it gets you.




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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.