An oath in any other language

The complaint by Labour’s new Managere MP Sua William Sio  because he can’t be sworn into parliament in Samoan had the talk back callers running hot yesterday.

I agree that Parliamentary Services is not being unreasonable. New Zealand has three official languages, English, Maori and sign, MPs are sworn in three at a time and it would take too much time if other languages were used.

Most callers used this argument but there was a distrubing number who were simply racist and used this story to exercise their prejudice.

However, there was a glimmer of hope. Most noted that Maori is an official language and it would be acceptable to use it and I suspect that level of acceptance wouldn’t have been evident a few years ago.

One Response to An oath in any other language

  1. Denis says:

    The right to speak Maori in the House has been hard won, as has been the re-establishment of the status of Te Reo Maori as an official langauge of our land. This land is however not Samoa. Whilst Su’a Sio MP is perfectly free to take formal oaths in Samoan in his own native parliament, when he gets angry because he cannot do so here, he actually weakens the status of the indigenous language of this land, Te Reo Maori . The first Maori to speak in the House was Tareha Te Moananui. He spoke in Maori at the time of our Fourth Parliament. Let’s respect the unique position of the Maori language for formal matters and matters of State, as envisaged in the Treaty of Waitangi, whilst we still celebrate our diversity and multiculturalism in the right time and right places.

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