NZ First submits Bill for English to be recognised as official language

Despite being the country's most widely-spoken language, English has not been officially recognised.
Despite being the country's most widely-spoken language, English has not been officially recognised. Photo credit: Getty

New Zealand First wants English to be recognised as an official language of New Zealand.

The party submitted a Member's Bill on Thursday that would give English the same legal status as te reo Māori and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL).

The English an Official Language of New Zealand Bill states that English should be recognised for its "widespread use".

"English language is an important part of New Zealand culture, heritage and everyday communication," it reads.

Te Reo was recognised as an official language of New Zealand in 1987, and NZSL achieved the same status in 2006. There is currently no legislation that recognises English as an official language, which NZ First list MP Clayton Mitchell says must change. 

"A petition was presented to Parliament last year with 6258 signatures asking for English to be recognised," he said in a statement. 

"I've travelled around the country and everyone I've spoken to think it's absurd that this isn't already the case."

The statement provided by NZ First also claims that English is used "in business, at home, on the sports field or in the media".

"It's common sense to officially recognise the language that the vast majority of New Zealanders use on a day to day basis," it reads.  

Newshub.