Te reo Māori teaching materials (Radio NZ: Tom Furley)

The Bulletin: What will te reo teaching look like in 2025?

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Māori language week starts te reo teaching conversation, Tax Working Group looking likely to reject capital gains tax, and landlords propose alternative to rental WOFs.

So what exactly is the government’s te reo Māori education policy? As Māori Language Week has got underway, that’s been a question that has come up a lot. And it’s a bit confusing – Nanaia Mahuta, a very strong advocate for te reo, says it will be a core school subject by 2025, reports Newshub. That means compulsory, and the Greens feel the same. But later that same day, the PM Jacinda Ardern really didn’t give the same impression – again this report comes from Newshub – studiously avoiding C-words like core and compulsion. NZ First leader Winston Peters is also known to be opposed.
So that’s the current government, but what if it changes? National leader Simon Bridges last week ruled out ever making Māori a compulsory school subject, telling Newshub that he thinks it’s great people are learning it, but would never support it being compulsory. But a very interesting member’s bill from National could result in a degree of that happening. Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye’s bill would require all kids under 13 to learn a second language, reports Radio NZ, and the ten priority languages include te reo. There’s no doubt huge numbers of parents would choose that for their kids.
How do we know that? The demand for te reo classes is currently far outstripping supply of courses and teachers. That’s one of the reasons holding up compulsory te reo in schools too, reports Stuff.
Here are some examples of that demand: There are wait lists for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa te reo courses in some regions. Thousands of people marched in a Māori language parade to Parliament yesterday. A free class in Christchurch had to be moved from the original venue of a fish and chip shop, because 600 people wanted to attend. And as Philip Matthews writes on Stuff, we’re probably already all reading and using more Māori words than we realise. It all indicates that regardless of whether te reo becomes a compulsory school subject, people are going to learn it.

And finally, if you want to speak te reo to people in everyday life, just start doing it. That’s the message from Paul Anderson, the guy behind Kōrero Māori Mai, who spoke to Spinoff Ātea editor Leonie Hayden. If you’re wearing one of the badges or shirts that you can identify fellow Māori speakers with, there’s nothing stopping you from using it as a day to day language. Except, of course, actually doing the mahi to learn.


The Tax Working Group is back in the news, after Stuff reported that there’s growing doubt the TWG will come back with a recommendation for a broad capital gains tax. That’s a significant development, as designing a CGT was one of the jobs the group was tasked with. However, the Stuff report indicates that there are concerns that such a recommendation would be effectively too political for an independent group to recommend, and so should be something left to politicians. A warning though – there is an interim report due soon, so this could prove to be unfounded.


Landlords concerned by a proposed rental WOF system have proposed an alternative, reports Stuff. The Wellington Property Investors Association would prefer to see a landlord accreditation and rating system – like with hotel stars – that would give properties a grade rather than pass or fail them. They say landlords would then be incentivised to maintain and improve their properties, so as not to be listed as owning one star houses. It wasn’t clear if there would be other consequences, like rent controls for example, of renting low rated houses.


A grim picture is being painted for freshwater fish species in New Zealand, with a new report indicating three quarters are in decline. Radio NZ has details of the study, which was co-authored by prominent ecologist Dr Mike Joy. He blames habitat loss and pollution as the main causes, and says central government, local government and DOC have all failed to protect wildlife. Dr Joy also says the actual situation is probably worse than the report was able to conclude.


There’s been a surge in police misconduct allegations over the past year, reports Newshub. The numbers are up 21% on this time last year, with complaints most frequently made about service failure, unprofessional conduct, and use of force on duty.


There are various tussles going on over the Employment Relations Amendment bill in Parliament. Politik reports that NZ First and Labour are at odds over multi employer collective agreements (MECAs) and the rights of employers to opt out, which both NZ First and National support.

As well as that, in Radio NZ’s news bulletins this morning, the Wellington Chamber of Commerce was concerned about the loss of 90 day trial periods for larger employers, and union access to workplaces. Their spokesperson said it would be a chance for the government to “demonstrate they are truly listening to business” – which doesn’t sound like a threat at all.


Radio NZ have outdone themselves with this remarkable and confronting piece on the lives and work of cleaners on the minimum wage. It’s part of a series called Minimum, which will be rolled out over the week. And here’s a dire statistic to chew on while watching the video: 61% of minimum wage jobs are held by women.


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Right now on The Spinoff: Youth worker and theology graduate Aaron Hendry writes that homophobia remains rife in Christian circles. Sam Brooks reviews the limping finale of the Tomb Raider trilogy of games. And TV and Radio producers – consider booking Madeleine Chapman for your next panel. She’s as qualified to talk on most topics as Dr Don Brash is qualified to talk about Māori issues.


This is an interesting commentary from Newsroom‘s Thomas Coughlan, looking into whether New Zealand’s electoral laws still reflect voting privileges being based on property ownership. It breaks down the historical context for asking the question, and identifies some hangovers from when that was formally the case. But more importantly, it applies the analysis to how politics is conducted today – namely, a nation full of renters being governed by property owners. Here’s an excerpt about local government:

“It would come as no surprise then that the Mackenzie District, home to a large number of non-resident buyers charges the lowest rates in the country — an average of $1,637 per year, well short of the $3,134 charged in Auckland, according to the Ratepayers Alliance 2017 report.

It seems especially odious that one need only be a ratepayer, not a citizen, to vote in local body elections, meaning the wealthy international elite like billionaire Peter Thiel, who now own large tracts of land around Queenstown, have a say in its local body politics, while people pushed out of the city because of high rents do not.

The issue is less pronounced in cities, where most elections post non-resident voting rates of below 1 percent, but it could get worse as the country’s rate of home ownership decreases, particularly in small towns where cash-strapped Aucklanders are starting to look to purchase a first home.”


This is a hard hitting column from the NZ Herald’s Gregor Paul, about the dwindling levels of interest in rugby outside of New Zealand. It jumps off the sight of empty seats at Suncorp Stadium as Australia beat South Africa, and then assesses whether there really is the global interest in Southern hemisphere rugby that is suggested by the TV deal secured by Sanzaar. Could it just have been that AFL and NRL playoffs were also on over the weekend? It’s entirely possible, but on balance, Paul’s argument seems sound – Southern hemisphere rugby could be in serious trouble.

And over in England, Alastair Cook has finished his final ever test innings with a big, emotional century. His dreadful recent form forgotten, and the decision to retire from tests made, Cook cut loose as England piled up a big 2nd innings lead over India. Here’s a video of the moment it came up, off overthrows no less. What a player, what a sport.


From our partners, Vector’s Beth Johnson writes that if you get a cheque in the mail, no, it isn’t a scam. It’s just the Loss Rental Rebate system in action.


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