Govt can’t promise compulsory te reo until it's ‘tooled up’ – Winston Peters

Morning Talk 11/09/2018
Photo: Newshub.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has laid out the Government’s plans for incorporating te reo Māori in the school curriculum.

“We are for it being added as part of the curriculum, for us to set out to train the requisite number of teachers and to support Kōhanga Reo, which we always have,” he told RadioLIVE’s Leah Panapa.

“But to go wider than that, to talk about it being compulsory, that is not the position of the Government.” 

But Mr Peters clarified that doesn't rule out compulsory te reo for future Government aspirations.

Between the nurses and teachers’ strikes, Mr Peter emphasised that the Government has already poured its resources towards fixing areas that had been ignored for the past nine years. 

“We haven’t got the capacity to do it now, so why would we make the statement until we’ve got ourselves tooled up, so to speak.”

It appears that not everyone in Government is on the same page, with Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta telling The AM Show on Monday that te reo Maori will be a core subject by 2025.

Four months ago, Ms Mahuta also spoke about wanting compulsory te reo - Winston Peters threatened her, telling her to get in line.

The Greens have the same policy, which was re-announced on Monday in an attempt to capitalise on Maori Language Week.

"We would like to put a line in the sand and [make it] core curriculum," said Marama Davidson, co-leader of the Green Party.

Listen to the full interview with Winston Peters above.

Morning Talk with Leah Panapa, in for Mark Sainsbury, 9am - 12pm Weekdays and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.