Mallard baulks at MPs' new prayer
Assistant Speaker Trevor Mallard is objecting to the proposed new prayer for Parliament, saying while it removes religious elements from the English version, it deceptively puts them into the Maori version.
It also appeared to confer rights of Parliament's sovereignty on the local iwi, Te Atiawa.
Speaker David Carter appears to have consulted only MPs and perhaps a handful of others about changing the prayer. He won't discuss it before making the decision next week.
The prayer is said daily at the start of Parliament and has long been criticised because it is non-secular and has references to Christianity.
Mr Mallard said he was not criticising Mr Carter, but added: "The whole thing smells of consulting one or two people."
All the religion in the new prayer would be in the Maori part so the vast majority of listeners would not be aware they are listening to a prayer.
"In a way it is almost dishonest."
Mr Carter has said he won't entertain changes to the proposal. It would be the old one or the new one.
Mr Mallard: "On that basis we'll keep it as is, thank you very much."
New Zealand First opposes any change. Chief whip Barbara Stewart said it seemed they were expected to show tolerance to all faiths except Christianity, yet New Zealand remained a Christian country.
New Zealand is a secular state. Wise forefathers of this nation have known that in order to accommodate the differing religious beliefs of its citizenry it is necessary to take religion out of the political and civic arena. Similarly it is unwise, and morally wrong, to differentiate its people based on race.
Unfortunately, tribal elites now dominate ceremonial functions in New Zealand, from school prize givings and awards ceremonies to building openings and civic functions. Away they go - tribal elders talking, singing and praying in a language that is not understood by most of the audience, the majority of who do not share their religious zeal. As the Maori language gains precedence at the expense of English (an international language and the tongue of 99% of the people of New Zealand) most people are unaware that they are being forced to take part in a religious ceremony.
What makes it even more manipulative is that, unlike many Pacific Island peoples, Maori are not what can be described as a ‘church-going’ lot.
National’s speaker MP David Carter’s proposed introduction of a new Parliament prayer is a symptom of the ‘politically correct’ behaviour that has led New Zealand into this race-biased mess. The monopolisation that tribal elites have been given of public gatherings is another. They display disrespect for others and particularly those who do not share their religious beliefs.
Look around you next time you’re forced into this situation and see how the audience is made to stand up for fear of being seen as disrespecting the tribal elders and their message. I resolutely remain seated. I am an atheist and I object strongly to being forced by stealth, as Trevor Mallard says, to kowtow to someone’s God and, I suspect, political aspirations. Watch how prize-givings and awards are high-jacked, so that they are no longer about everybody and their achievements but noisily about tribal members only - all others are treated as also-rans.
If I’m in a church or on a marae, I can expect to respect the norms of that place because, of my own free will, I have chosen to go to there. I do not expect to go into public places and be subjected to someone else’s religious beliefs.
Speaker MP David Carter has reportedly said he won't entertain changes to the Government prayer proposal – ‘it will be the old one or the new one’. Well, better the old one than the new one. Or better still, none at all.