So what, I haven’t spoken te reo in 49 years, and not likely ever to start

The media are making a fuss over Gerry Brownlee not speaking te reo for 20 years: Quote:

Debate around the use and translation of te reo Māori at Parliament has sparked an admission from National’s Gerry Brownlee, a former Māori teacher, that he hasn’t used the language in two decades.

It is Māori language week, and several questions at Parliament have been answered fully in te reo. That’s not uncommon – many MPs choose to use the official language of New Zealand, or use a mix of Māori and English.

But following several long answers in te reo from Labour’s Nanaia Mahuta at question time this afternoon, the Speaker Trevor Mallard called her into line, using the word “iti.”

Mr Brownlee raised a point of order thinking the Speaker had pulled up the Minister for “less than appropriate” language in Parliament, but Mr Mallard quickly put him right, saying he was referring to the answer size.

“No, no no, ‘too much’ language. Oh ‘too long,'” he said. “The answers were too long.”

Mr Brownlee charged on to make his point.

“Well, there was a short answer yesterday that I’d like you to have a look at – it came from the honourable Kelvin Davis… Had that been delivered I suspect in English, it would have brought some ire from you.”

He went on to say that if there was going to be more use of te reo – which he doesn’t object to – he thinks “it’s important when people are using it that they are not using it to deliver insults” or any other comment that might not ordinarily be acceptable.

Mr Brownlee then revealed he hadn’t used the language in 20 years because of a “tirade that was dumped on me by the Māori Language Commission and its chief executive back then.”

That was likely to do with his call to abolish the commission in 1999. End quote.

Big deal. I haven’t used te reo in 49 years and will go to my grave never learning it or using it. Can’t see the point.


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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.

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