Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Treaty of Waitangi oath to be debated

Maori party MP Te Ururoa Flavell. Photo / Wayne Drought
Maori party MP Te Ururoa Flavell. Photo / Wayne Drought

A private member's bill allowing people to swear an oath to the Treaty of Waitangi in any statutory oath, including MPs being sworn into Parliament, will be debated by Parliament.

Four new private member's bill were drawn from a ballot at Parliament today because progress has been made by other members' bills already before Parliament.

A bill in the name of Maori party MP Te Ururoa Flavell was drawn. The oaths and Declarations (Upholding the Treaty of Waitangi) Amendment Bill allows any person taking a statutory oath to also say they will uphold the Treaty of Waitangi.

Mana party leader Hone Harawira was forced by Speaker Lockwood Smith to delay his swearing in last year because he inserted a reference to the treaty in his oath.

Another bill requiring the Law Commission to write a report on matters covering care of children, including adoption by gay couples was also drawn from the ballot.

The Care of Children Law Reform Bill is sponsored by Labour MP Jacinda Ardern. The Law Commission report would also cover surrogacy issues and human assisted reproduction.

National MP Nikki Kaye and Green MP Kevin Hague are jointly working on a bill that covers similar issues and would legalise adoption by gay couples.

The gay marriage bill already before Parliament sponsored by Labour MP Louisa Wall already legalises gay adoption because it would bring same-sex couples into definition of a spouse (or marital partner) who may apply for adoption under the current Adoption Act.

A bill in the name of Labour MP Darien Fenton would end user-pays charges in New Zealand libraries. The Local Government (Public Libraries) Amendment Bill would extend the ban on charging for membership of libraries to services such as book rental, digital information and access to the internet.

A bill in the name of National Coromandel MP Scott Simpson would allow evidential breath tests in drink drive cases to be admissible in court. At present if someone has elected to have a blood test but the blood can't be drawn for some reason, the earlier evidential breath test is inadmissible. The Land Transport (Admissibility of Evidential Breath Tests) Amendment Bill would reverse that.

- NZ Herald

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