New Zealand First MP
Most New Zealanders would be surprised to hear that English is not actually an official language of New Zealand. The languages that currently hold this title are Te Reo Maori and New Zealand Sign Language. Somehow, the most commonly spoken language in our country has been left off the list. In response, I have drafted a bill which aims to give English its proper status.
Promoting the use of Te Reo Maori is admirable, however I think that this initiative has the potential to overtake the use of English and cause confusion if English is not given equal status in the law. Translating everything into a language that the vast majority of our population can’t understand is not a fair and equal approach. I have noticed this starting to happen as government agencies have begun to be renamed exclusively in Te Reo Maori. New Zealand needs to move toward a bi-lingual approach in order to promote fairness and equality for all New Zealanders.
We have a lot to learn from our international friends on this issue. Canada has led the way in being a bi-lingual nation. Every product on Canadian shelves is labelled in both English and French, and political speeches are delivered in both languages. This approach values both cultures that make up their national identity.
We could greatly benefit from following the example that Canada has set as we work to make our society more fair and equal for all.