Compulsory te Reo Māori in schools?

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori  (Māori  Language Week) is being used to promote wider use of the language, and calling for compulsory te reo Māori in schools.

There has been some teaching of te reo Māori in schools for years, like days of the week, counting in Māori and other basics alongside cultural awareness and more. Schools in Dunedin with very small numbers of Māori pupils have popular kapa haka groups.

So I think the question is how much te reo Māori (and Māori  culture and history) should be taught in schools.

I’m happy for a continuation of what is being done with te Reo Māori in primary schools now, and perhaps an increase, alongside all the other specific and general topics on the curriculum. Fundamentals like reading, writing and arithmetic are essential, as well as art, music and physical education. Māori history, Aotearoa history and new Zealand history are important for kids to know something about.

All of these subjects are compulsory at Primary level now, so there’s no reason to change that. One question is whether to increase how much is taught.

And probably the biggest question is whether conversational Māori should be taught. I’d be happy if it was, to an extent. It should at least be promoted as a positive thing to learn.

But when it comes to Secondary level I don’t think Māori should be compulsory. Most subjects at this level should be choices for pupils.

Is English still compulsory? I expect so, and I think there’s a good case for this, especially to say Form 5 (now year 11). Everyone benefits from a good working knowledge of English in this country, and it is useful in many places around the world.

But I think that Māori, and French and Japanese and Chinese and any other languages, should be optional rather than compulsory at Secondary school.

 

Compulsory land acquisition

In September last year the Productivity Commission, in its ‘Using Land for Housing’ report, recommended setting up urban development authorities with powers of compulsory land acquisition for housing.

At the time Housing Minister Nick Smith said:

“Obviously the issue of overriding private title for development is a big call, but my view is if we are going to get the quality of urban development, particularly in the redevelopment area where you can often have a real mix of little titles that makes doing a sensible development difficult, in my view it’s one of things we’ll need to consider.”

Just over a week ago at his party’s annual conference John Key said that National was looking in to ‘Urban Development Authorities’ but appears to rule out compulsory land acquisition for housing.

Urban Development Authorities on the way

The government intends introducing legislation later this year to create Urban Development Authorities in areas of high housing need, Prime Minister John Key says.

He told the National Party’s annual conference on Sunday UDAs were being considered, and firmed that up at his post-cabinet press conference on Monday.

“We will consider the best approach to establishing these over the coming weeks with a view to introducing legislation later this year,” he said.

The aim is to give the authorities powers to override barriers to large-scale housing development.

Mr Key says they’ve been used widely and successfully in other countries.

“What’s made them successful is they have total control over the particular area they’re developing, extremely broad-ranging powers,” he said.

Questioned whether they could be given powers to seize land from “landbankers” – people who hang onto land without developing it – he said that wasn’t the government’s intention.

“In the practical world we live in we are not trying to march over the top of peoples’ property rights,” he said.

In policy announced yesterday Labour said they plan to set up a similar type of authority but one that will be able take over private land.

Labour supports compulsory land acquisition for housing development

Labour’s proposed Affordable Housing Authority will have powers to buy land compulsorily, Labour leader Andrew Little says.

The authority will be tasked with partnering with developers to build 10,000 new homes a year priced below $600,000 in Auckland and below $500,000 elsewhere.

Little said it would need to be able to buy land compulsorily to put together land parcels big enough for bulk developments.

“There will have to be acquisition powers with the Affordable Housing Authority,” he said.

“You are trying to partner up with councils and others. The reality is the housing issue is serious and there is going to have to be the means to cut through those barriers.”

However compulsory land acquisition isn’t stated in Labour’s policy as far as I can see, but there are possible hints. From Establishing an Affordable Housing Authority:

LABOUR WILL:

  • Establish the Affordable Housing Authority, an independent Crown entity with a fast-tracked planning process, tasked with leading large-scale housing developments and cutting through red tape

The Affordable Housing Authority will have access to fast tracked planning powers to cut through red tape and speed up development

This coordination with communities and the private sector, combined with the Affordable Housing Authority’s powers and control of Crown land, will enable rapid development of large-scale projects focused on affordable housing.

So suggestions of powers without specifying what they will be (and “cut through red tape” would have to have significant power over or make changes to the Resource Management Act).

Perhaps the compulsory acquisition of land at low prices is one way they will keep the houses ‘affordable’.

Trotter and rebooting the unions to fund Labour

Chris Trotter has another lengthy complaint about Labour in relation to the TPPA, posted at  both The Daily Blog (he must have an exemption from their exclusive post requirement) and at Bowalley – Burning Down The House: Why Does The Labour Caucus Keep Destroying The Labour Party In Order To Save It?

It’s heavy going so I’ll skip to the conclusion where he suggests a peoples’ revolution to get Labour on a Corbynite track to then facilitate the People’s Revolution of New Zealand.

Only a mass influx of people determined to make policy – not tea – can rescue the Labour Party from the self-perpetuating parliamentary oligarchy that currently controls it.

Only a rank-and-file membership that is conscious of, and willing to assert, its rights – as the Corbynistas are doing in the United Kingdom – has the slightest hope of selecting a caucus dedicated to circulating the whole oxymoronic notion of democratic elitism out of New Zealand’s political system altogether.

The way this can be done is discussed in the comments, with suggestions that a return to compulsory unionism is the way to fund Labour so they can be a proper party.

Bushbaptist:

The Labour party has to go to the same sources to get funding as the Gnats, therein lays the problem they have. Which is why I have said that Unions should be made compulsory again and then Labour can get funding via them.

Green supporter Simon Cohen isn’t happy with this:

So Bushbaptist you want to make Unions compulsory again so that their members dues will contribute to the Labour Party and get them elected.And you wonder why so many of us are now anti union.I would object to my union fees going to support Labour when I am a strong supporter of the only true left wing party in NZ the Greens.

That makes him a traitorous fake to the left, or at least to Greywarbler::

You don’t know anything Simon if you don’t know that and you might as well be a Nat as you think like them. Perhaps indeed you are just playing at being a Green for the purposes of commenting here. Your anti-union stance doesn’t fit with the Greens I know. But perhaps you are part of a modern plan to subvert the energy and commitment to Green ideals as RWs did to Labour? That would be par for the course for an anti-union Nat.

And Greywarbler endorses the union revolution for Labour.

This is where the unions come in, to re-energise Labour, get Labour onto its avowed task which is to look out for the country and assist all to a reasonable and now sustainable living.

And to bring funds in from those who enthusiastically back that goal, just as National gets funds from those who back themselves and their narrow clique only, with gusto.

Trotter comes in and points out an obvious problem with this plan…

Our problem, Grey Warbler, is that in order to re-boot the union movement, it is first necessary to re-boot the Labour Party and get it elected. We appear to be caught in a classic “Catch-22” situation!

…but notably doesn’t disagree with compulsory unionism being a source of funding for Labour.

Bushbaptist also slams the Greens.

Firstly the Greens have no show of becoming a major party in the medium term anyway, there is not enough grassroots support for them. Secondly they are NOT LEFT! THEY ARE CENTRIST! The only remotely thing one can say about their political position is that they are “Left” of both Labour and National. The Greens only support ordinary workers who vote for them not for the protection of all low paid workers in general.

So if the Greens aren’t proper LEFT…

Simon you have conflated what I said. You can vote for who-ever you wish. The Unions would support Labour by financing them.

…so should be forced to join unions and finance another party.

I wonder how many people choose not to join a union now because some of the unions finance Labour?

Rebooting the unions would be relooting the workers.

The revolution doesn’t look like threatening New Zealand any time soon.