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

Gordon Campbell: On The Politics Of Scaring Voters Back Into Line

Fear has always been a useful mobilising tool in politics… yet in 2017, bogeymen of all shapes and sizes seem to have fallen on hard times. For years, the National party had painted itself as being the only reliable defensive bastion against the terrifying prospect of a centre-left government…

In fact, the polls suggest that the public seems to quite like the new government, its Prime Minister, and its proposed plan of action. Somehow, even though a Labour/Greens/NZ First government is in power, the sun is still rising and setting, on time. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Drinking Water As A Failure Of Political Leadership

It is almost possible to feel sorry for the Health Ministry in their terrible, no good, very bad week... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Saying ‘Work For The Dole,’ Nicely

As New Zealand First learned the hard way from its two previous periods in government, small parties in MMP coalitions get blamed for the unpopular stuff done by their senior partner in power, but no one remembers the good stuff the junior player brought to the table... More>>


Seismic Blasting: Greenpeace Launches Legal Challenge Against Amazon Warrior

A legal challenge against the world’s largest seismic oil exploration ship was launched at a public rally on Parliament Lawn. More>>


Tertiary: 80,000 People Eligible For Fees Free

The Government has today made good on its 100-day promise of delivering the first year of fees-free post school training and education and industry training from 1 January next year, says Education Minister Chris Hipkins. More>>


PM's Presser: Rebuilding Cathedrals, Felling Trees

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attended the press conference today with Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration Dr Megan Woods to announce urgent legislation this week for the rebuilding of the Christ Church Cathedral. More>>





Featured InfoPages