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Ed Sheeran

Officials unhappy with Te Matawai plan

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Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples is determined to push ahead with his plan to restructure the way Maori language agencies are governed despite widespread concern from language advocates and officials.

Te Matawai, which will be appointed by regional iwi clusters, will take over governance of the Maori language commission Te Taura Whiri, the Maori broadcast funding agency, and eventually Maori Television.

In its submission on the plan, Te Taura Whiri pointed out that it was set up in response to a Waitangi Tribunal finding that the Crown had an obligation to protect te reo Maori.

It says by replacing what is a crown entity with what is in effect a company, the plan would breach that obligation and create unnecessary duplication and cost.

Treasury and the State Services Commission are also unhappy with Te Matawai.

But Dr Sharples says he is keen to get the legislation introduced as soon as possible so Maori people can take control of their own language.

"We’ve got kura, kohanga, all those kind of things, but even they are supported by the government. What I am saying is also government money that is spent on Atarangi, Panekiretanga and things like that. Let Maori take the lead where this money goes, so it's totally positive and I look forward to getting it to its first reading before I leave parliament," he says.

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