Mark Sainsbury: Making English an official language is a waste of time

Mark Sainsbury: Making English an official language is a waste of time
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OPINION: We are in a de facto relationship with our language. Yes rather than being officially hitched to English, we only have an official relationship with te reo Māori and sign language.

It may come as some surprise to learn our list of official languages consists of only two, and English is not one of them.  

English is like the girlfriend or boyfriend who moved in and never left, and, as a consequence, has merited some status in the household.  

Earlier this week New Zealand First MP Clayton Mitchell submitted a Member's Bill to give English the same legal status as te reo Māori and sign language.

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

This idea originally surfaced in 2015, when Tauranga resident Robin Bishop overheard the fact in the street one day and launched a petition.

The petition was unsuccessful in getting English its due recognition.  

The explanation from then Justice Minister Amy Adams was English is a de facto official language by virtue of its widespread use. In other words it's so dominant no official recognition is needed.

And that remains the case.

Given all the pressing matters to be sorted is changing the law to recognise English a waste of time of our politicians' time?

Mark Sainsbury is RadioLIVE's Morning Talk host.

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