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Maori Party's oath bill defeated

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/08/2016

Marama Fox © YouTUbe/TVHB Marama Fox The Maori Party has lost its bid to allow people taking oaths to state that they will perform their duties in accordance with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Party co-leader Marama Fox drafted the member's bill, which was defeated on its first reading by 71 votes to 50 in parliament on Wednesday night.

Ms Fox said her bill recognised the treaty as New Zealand's founding document, and people taking oaths should have the opportunity to state their support for it.

However, she knew before she began her speech that the bill didn't have majority support.

"I know it won't pass, so I stand here with a heavy heart," she said.

"But I still ask members to vote for the good of New Zealand and support our beloved treaty."

National's Nuk Korako said oaths should be the same for everyone taking them, and Ms Fox's bill would mean some were different.

"Oaths are about loyalty to our country, symbolised by allegiance to the Crown," he said.

"This would mean some people taking an oath to uphold the treaty, and others not."

Labour's Kelvin Davis said National was denying Maori the right to stand up for the treaty.

The Greens supported the bill.

Catherine Delahunty said those opposing it "seem to fear upholding what is very significant to a large part of our population".

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said the bill was unnecessary because oaths were sworn in accordance to law.

"By necessary implication, we read into that the treaty and its principles," he said.

"At the end of the day, we have to be logical."

NZ First opposed the bill.

Pita Paraone said there was uncertainty around the treaty's principles.

"Until they are articulated, New Zealand First will oppose this bill."

Labour, the Greens, the Maori Party, ACT and United Future supported the bill.

National and NZ First opposed it.

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