Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


ACT's Stance On Sign Language Bill Clarified

12 August 2005

Dear Mr Peck ,

I did not respond to your earlier messages because the questions appeared to be rhetorical, more statements of position than requests for information.

I can understand puzzlement about the differences between Mr Eckhoff's original welcome to the Bill, and my release.

The explanation is that his speech was given when the Bill was introduced. The government did not consult with the Act party before then. He had just seen the Bill. Naturally it was taken at face value. My comments came after hearing many hours of evidence before the Select Committee which reported on the Bill.

I read all the material provided by submitters and officials. As the release it says, it became clear that there was no proper costing, that the designation as an "official" language was purely symbolic, a hollow gesture with no meaning set out in the Bill, leaving it for judges to decide whether it means anything at all. I was disturbed by the militance that seeped through one or two submissions. Though the matter was not raised, I think some supporters showed something of the attitude that in Britain is now contesting cochlear implants.

I will not be indifferent to an attitude that elevates group identity over common citizenship, whether the identity is racial or religious or otherwise.

The Ministry of Justice was quite clear in their advice that the bill did not essentially expand on rights already assured to deaf people in courts and proceedings, by the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.

The comments in my release would have appeared as a minority view in the select committee's report if I had been able to be present at the critical meeting which deliberated on the report.

I was well aware that there would be people in the deaf community offended by my opposition. I did not make the statement to attract votes. I knew that it would be of interest to few outside the deaf community.

I have seen it as my duty as an MP to oppose law that is misleading, deliberately ambiguous, and potentially a gift mainly to professionals, in this case lawyers and interpreters. Act has consistently stood for principles at the expense of popular support. I do not believe we should be passing legislation that appears to promise things which the fine print does not deliver.


Stephen Franks

I have twice now asked questions of ACT in relation to Stephen Franks press release on 18 July regarding ACT's position on the NZSL Bill. It appears from Mr Franks press release that ACT is now going back on what Gerry Eckhoff said at the first reading of the NZSL Bill. I have tried to clarify if this is correct, yet I have had no reply what-so-ever from ACT or a representative, not even to acknowledge my correspondence, let alone provide some answers.

My latest email also included a read receipt, so I know that the second email was received and read, yet I have again been ignored. I am now sending this to other parties and news organisations in then hope that they might bring pressure on ACT to respond to what I consider basic and justifiable questions about ACT's own press release. Surely ACT is required to respond to my questions, if for no other reason than polite professionalism - or is that not important to ACT?

My original emails and the questions posed are below. Please help me to get some answers from ACT Regards

Thornton Peck


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>


More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news