Nikki Kaye's second language bill set to pass second reading

Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 11 December 2018, 9:31AM
Nikki Kaye says she is delighted the bill has cross party support. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Foreign language learning in primary schools is a step closer to becoming common place.

National MP Nikki Kaye is receiving widespread political support for a private member's bill, promoting second language teaching from a young age.

It would provide funding for at least 10 priority languages for all children in Years 1 to 8, including Te Reo Maori and New Zealand Sign Language.

Labour, the Greens and Act have agreed to vote the bill through first reading early next year.

Kaye is delighted.

"There may be changes at select committees. It's really great that political parties have decided to support to go to select committee where these issues can be ironed out."

Kaye says the focus right now needs to be on addressing the teacher shortage, and this bill won't undermine that.

"I envisage that there will be a number of specialist teachers that will need to be trained for this. Also I'm very open to the time frame that this is implemented."

Education Minister Chris Hipkins says it's better to approach this in a multi-party fashion, not split along party lines.

"Let's have a debate about whether having a list of priority languages is the way to go about it, or if there are other ways to go about it. We're going into this with a very open mind."

Hipkins says he's a bit nervous about legislating the curriculum, and the big issue will be having enough teachers.

"We really want to see a much greater emphasis on every child in NZ to have access to Maori as our indigenous language. At the moment, we don't have the resources to deliver that."



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