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Te Wiki O Te Reo Maori 2009

Posted on 29 Jul 2009

This week, New Zealanders up and down the country are being encouraged to speak te reo Maori (the Maori language) as much as they can in celebration of Te Wiki o te Reo Maori 2009 - Maori Language Week 2009.

Running from July 27-August 2, Maori Language Week coincides with the anniversary of te reo Maori becoming an official language of New Zealand 22 years ago.

While te reo Maori was the predominant language spoken in Aotearoa/New Zealand at the beginning of the 19th century, the arrival of English-speaking meant the Maori language became confined to Maori communities. By the mid-20th Century there were concerns that the language was dying out, and major initiatives were launched in the 1980s in an attempt to revive te reo.

In 1985 the Waitangi Tribunal heard the Te Reo Maori claim - which asserted that te reo was a taonga, or treasure, that the Crown was obliged to protect under the Treaty of Waitangi. The Tribunal found in favour of the claimants and recommended a number of legislative and policy remedies - one of which was the Maori Language Act, enacted on August 1 1987.

This meant te reo Maori became an official language of New Zealand, and able to be used in some legal proceedings. The Act also established Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Maori - the Maori Language Commission - to promote the use of Maori as a living language and as an ordinary means of communication.

Today, the language is an accepted and integral part of New Zealand's culture, with more than 130,000 people of Maori ethnicity now able to speak and understand te reo Maori.

In The House

Posted on 28 Jul 2009

Legislation this week - July 28-July 30 2009

Government Bills:
Taxation (Consequential Rate Alignment and Remedial Matters) Bill - First Reading
ACT to Support

Cluster Munitions (Prohibition) Bill - First Reading
ACT to Support

Building Amendment Bill (No 2) - Third Reading
ACT to Support

Inquiries Bill - First Reading
ACT to Support

Limitation Bill - First Reading
ACT to Support

Port Nicholson Block (Taranaki Whanui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika) Claims Settlement Bill - Third Reading
ACT to Support

Road User Amendment Bill - Second Reading
ACT to Oppose

Search and Surveillance Bill - First Reading
ACT to Support

Members’ Bills:
Sustainable Biofuel Bill - First Reading
Jeanette Fitzsimons - Green Party
ACT to Support to Select Committee

Marine Animals Protection Law Reform Bill - First Reading
Metiria Turei - Green Party
ACT to Oppose

Customs and Excise (Prohibition of Imports Made by Slave Labour) - First Reading
Maryan Street - Labour
ACT to Oppose

Te Ra o Matariki Bill / Matariki Day Bill - First Reading
Rahui Katene - Maori Party
ACT to Oppose

A more detailed rundown of Parliament this week can be viewed by clicking on 'In The House' or at

ACT's 'Three Strikes' Policy Has Majority Support

Posted on 26 Jul 2009

ACTs 'three strikes' justice policy has 75% support of the 500 people polled in a telephone survey. David Garrett, ACTs Law and Order Spokesman, released the results of the independent public survey today. It also showed 73 percent of New Zealanders advocate National adopting 'Three strikes' as official Government policy. These results clearly show that New Zealanders have had enough of serious violent crime and want real action on dealing with it.

Our three strikes policy has been criticised for being too harsh but it is obvious from the survey that this isn't what kiwis think. They want to feel safe in their homes, in their streets and communities. The policy has often been poorly portrayed in the media.

Here is what 'three strikes' would mean.

The bill creates a three-stage regime of punishment for the worst repeat offenders of serious violent crimes. There are specific 'strike' offences which include murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, rape, sexual assault of a child, aggravated burglary, kidnapping and firearm offences.

Strike One : Serious violent offenders would receive a warning from the judge at the time of sentencing that the crime is a 'strike' crime and subject to the 'Three strikes' law. Sentencing for the first strike is at the discretion of the judge, as is the case now, and the sentence served as it is now.

Strike Two : Serious violent offenders receive a final 'strike' warning from the judge after committing a second violent offence.

Strike Three : When a serious violent offence is committed by the offender a third time they automatically receive a 25 year jail sentence.

Contrary to some reporting stealing a chocolate bar or committing a petty crime is not a 'strike' offence. The 'three strikes' bill is for serious offences only. We don't apologise for getting tough on crime - and today ACT has proof that kiwis like it that way. Let's hope the politicians in other parties are listening to them.

Carlson School

Posted on 25 Jul 2009

While in Auckland yesterday I visited four schools, one of which was Carlson School and met with principal Faye Philp. The school caters for 54 special needs students, the majority with Cerebral Palsy. They all have complex health needs and most are wheelchair dependent.

I had the opportunity to take a tour of the school and meet with some of the students. One student was having a lot of fun in a walking sling attached to one of the school’s new ceiling mounted hoists and I was able to have a few kicks of a swiss ball with him. The sling and hoist set-up has been a very popular addition to the school as it allows the students to feel the sensation of standing and walking.

The tour of the school included the physiotherapy unit where the students’ movement and strength can be improved and the sensory garden, full of different textures and sounds. I also visited the music room where there were a wide range of instruments. As the board chairperson Marion Whittam commented, the instruments “give the students an opportunity to generate something themselves for a change.” I was told there are a few good jam sessions!

It was wonderful to visit Carlson School and see how well the students are cared for by the dedicated teachers and staff.

I have come under criticism in parliament from Opposition Leader Phil Goff following budget announcements that 23 schools receiving funding for some therapists that all other schools miss out on will not continue next year. Mr Goff has said that I'm refusing to respond to schools and parents affected. This isn't true - in fact I have a programme in place to visit those schools who have invited me. While I was visiting the school and meeting students, teachers and therapists Mr Goff was on the phone asking if he could bring a TV camera crew and be interviewed outside the school.

A pity that he's more interested in politicking than meeting the students inside the school gates. If his party had really been committed to supporting the therapists they would have cemented the funding in rather than revisiting it year on year. This and other issues will be addressed in this government's Special Education Review which will look at equitable funding for all students, not just those in selected electorates.

Two Standards Of Sartorial Acceptability

Posted on 25 Jul 2009

Nick Venter writes an interesting 'human interest' piece on the Prime Minister's family which appeared in both the Dominion Post and the Press today - "At home with the Keys".
It's always hard for the families of high profile people. Politicians rely on being in the limelight but families, despite not standing for office, often come under the same scrutiny.

As an example Bronagh Key has come in for criticism for wearing the same purple jacket to her husband's swearing in as she did to a party function. It was described very unfairly in one Auckland newspaper as "the first lady faux pas".

I loved Bronagh's response. She said that she wears the jacket because she likes it (always good when you've made a purchase, and it suits her). She went on to say "The reality is people in the real world don't buy something and wear it once". Good on her, and its a well known fact among astute clothing shoppers that the value of a garment is calculated by it's dollar value divided by the number of times one wears it! The lower the number the better the buy.

And why is it that women can't wear the same thing twice without being publicly criticised but a man can wear the same suit and tie, day after day, with no-one commenting at all?

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