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Language Diversity

Aotearoa is an increasingly diverse country. It has a population of over four million and many speak different languages. Nowhere in the country is this more evident than in Auckland, New Zealand’s super diverse city. Almost half of those who call Auckland their home were born overseas. Almost one third of the city’s population speaks at least one language other than English.

Based on your valued opinions, information from industry experts and insights from COMET we sent two questions to each political party about language diversity. 

This was their response in alphabetical order:

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New Zealand has a protectorate role in the Pacific. Given many Pacific languages are in decline, how would you support the maintenance, affirmation and growth of Pacific languages? #

David Seymour

MP David Seymour 

ACT believes that the maintenance of language in the Pacific Island nations is a matter of sovereignty and that their respective governments would place this as a priority for their peoples and the affirmation of their country.


Golriz Ghahraman

MP Golriz Ghahraman

The Green Party supports ensuring that Pasifika learning is embedded throughout the New Zealand Curriculum, and is developed with the input of communities. We would provide scholarships for Pacific language teachers at primary and secondary schools to help in promoting the use, regeneration, and protection of Pasifika and heritage languages in the school environment. 


Chris Hipkins

Hon. Chris Hipkins

Pacific languages, cultures and identity are essential to the health, wellbeing and lifetime success of our Pacific peoples and their communities in Aotearoa. The strength and resilience of Pacific Aotearoa is not only vital to their own prosperity but integral to the prosperity of all New Zealanders, and is particularly important in helping Pacific people during our economic recovery and rebuilding efforts.

 

The 2019 Wellbeing Budget recognised this, providing $20 million over four years toward the support of Pacific languages and cultures, funding a range of initiatives critical to reversing the decline in the uptake and use of Pacific languages.


Nicola Willis

List MP Nicola Willis

National will legislate to ensure all children have the opportunity to learn at least one second language at primary and intermediate school. We will provide a funding boost of $40 million per year for the development and provision of second language learning resources, and to support the training and recruitment of specialist teachers and language assistants.  

Our second language policy will require the Ministry of Education to set at least ten national priority languages for schools to choose from, following a period of public consultation. Te Reo and New Zealand Sign Language, as official languages of New Zealand, will be on the final list of ten or more. We would expect other languages to be consulted on would include languages with cultural significance to New Zealand such as Pasifika languages. 


Tracey Martin

Hon. Tracey Martin

New Zealand First, as part of the current government, announced a $20 million dollar fund from Budget 2019.  This fund is designed for community groups who are able to apply for grants of up to $5000 during a 12 month period.  New Zealand First also see models such as Toru Fetu Kindergarten as a positive model for the retention of language – support for teachers with these heritage languages should be a target for funding. 

Children are encouraged to speak their heart languages at home. How would you enable children to use their heart language and culture as a strength in their learning? #

David Seymour

MP David Seymour 

ACT believes in family choice and responsibility to support their heart language at home. Should parents wish to extend this beyond the home under ACT’s Student Education Allowance they have a choice in education that would allow this.


Golriz Ghahraman

MP Golriz Ghahraman

The Green Party envisions a nation in which Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tirene and Te Tiriti o Waitangi are accepted and celebrated as the founding documents of Aotearoa New Zealand and the status of Māori as tangata whenua is recognised and respected. Tamariki Māori should feel nurtured, supported, and confident in their identity and whakapapa, whether at kura kaupapa or in mainstream education. 


Chris Hipkins

Hon. Chris Hipkins

We’ve introduced the Action Plan for Pacific Education 2020-2030, which has a vision that diverse Pacific learners and their families feel safe, valued and equipped to achieve their education aspirations.

 

Alongside this, the Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ Community Languages Fund has provided support for Pacific grassroots community and family language projects with applicants able to apply for up to $2,500 in funding to support language projects in their homes and in their community.


Nicola Willis

List MP Nicola Willis

Our second language policy will require school boards to consult with their school community to decide which of 10 priority languages they would choose to deliver their students. National will provide a funding boost of $40 million per year for the development and provision of second language learning resources, and to support the training and recruitment of specialist teachers and language assistants.  


Tracey Martin

Hon. Tracey Martin

If you are referring to children’s heritage languages then yes – here in New Zealand we know better than most that to be a well-rounded successful person one needs to know who one is – their whakapapa – and that this includes language.  Realistically however the majority of schooling in this country is done in English Medium schools – recognition of cultural input into aspects of the curriculum should become the norm – but we cannot say that we would provide education in every heritage language of every child – that is not deliverable.  However in each area of the curriculum it is possible to allow each student to input from their individual cultural perspective. 

COMET