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Rachel Boyack, chair of Governance and Administration select committee



'Really significant': Select committee chairperson on citizenship bill submissions following almost 25,000 submissions

Chair of the Governance and Administration select committee is excited following mass support for citizenship bill and goes over future process for the bill

A bill which may restore the right to NZ citizenship for some Samoans has received almost 25,000 submissions, with almost half of them being from Samoa, according to the chairperson for the select committee that will hear these submissions.

Governance and Administration select committee chairperson Rachel Boyack, told William Terite on 531pi’s Pacific Mornings that she wants to make special mention of New Zealand’s High Commission in Samoa who have helped facilitate the overseas submissions.

“We might often only get 100 or 200 submissions on a bill so to get almost 25,000 is really significant,” she said.

“We’ve had a lot come in from Samoa and I do want to acknowledge our High Commission at Apia who were willing to accept those submissions. There have been over 9,000 come in from Samoa.

“It’s been really interesting that we’ve had such a large number come in from Samoa and I think that’s a good thing.”


Boyack said the committee will be broken up into two subcommittees for the bill's hearings.

“We have arranged for there to be interpretations for people who have told us that they want the service.

“They will have a longer time period for the submission so that there is time for their submission to be heard and for the interpretation to be given to the committee as well.”

She said the committee had tough choices to make when it came to allocating speaking slots and that priority was given to those whose lives were affected by the initial citizenship bill.

“They might be an advocacy group from the community. Those groups will definitely get the opportunity to make a submission and they’ll be slightly longer as well.

“One of the things the committee has been very clear on is that for people in the Samoan community who are of high standing, and we appreciate that people like your chiefs and like your ministers are important orators and speakers on behalf of your community, we want to make sure all of those people are heard. But also, we really do want to hear the stories from those people who are affected.

“We've got people still alive today who had their citizenship taken from them through the original bill. And so those stories are really, really, really important for us to hear.”

Boyack said following the submissions, the committee will meet to analyse and then put forward a recommendation whether or not they think the bill should pass which will only take a few weeks.

She said following the report, the bill will then be handed over to Parliament for its second reading which if the bill passes will then proceed through another committee process before its third and final reading.

“I just really want to thank the community for showing such strong engagement and interest in the bill.

“It's so exciting to see so many people submit to parliament and we really do appreciate everyone who's taken the time to do that. So my sincere thanks to everyone.

“You can be assured that the committee has seen all those submissions. We'll read them and we'll listen during those submissions that come to us orally. The select committee will be in Auckland for a full day on Monday the 1st of July.”

Hearings will be held in-person and via Zoom in Wellington on 24 and 26 June, and 9 July. There will also be hearings held in South Auckland on 1 July, location to be confirmed soon. Hearings will also be livestreamed.