Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Another attack on te reo

The new white supremacist government made attacking te reo a key part of its platform, promising to rename government agencies and force them to "communicate primarily in English" (which they already do). But today they've gone further, by trying to cut the pay of public servants who speak te reo:

The government is trying to figure out how to stop any more public servants getting extra pay for being proficient in te reo Māori.

But it concedes it cannot dump existing allowances.

"I will ... ask for advice on how we could stop these bonuses being negotiated into future collective agreements," the Public Service Minister Nicola Willis told RNZ.

These allowances exist for a good reason: speaking te reo is a skill which is in demand in the public service. And the reason it is in demand is because public sector agencies owe specific legal duties to (for example) support the crown-Māori relationship and use te reo to promote public services and make them accessible to Māori. Both of those duties require that agencies maintain capacity, which means staff with the appropriate skills, and - as with any other skill - that needs to be paid for. And, as the article notes, they're in collective agreements, and the PSA has indicated they're going to fight for the rights of their members to be recognised for their skills. So, the government is going to have trouble implementing its white supremacist agenda. But the fact they even blurted this, when it wasn't in either coalition agreement, suggests they're going all-in on it, and that the elimination of te reo from public life is a goal they wholeheartedly embrace.