Allow oaths and declarations in other languages

Original discussion: here, here and here.

Sparked by Su'a William Sio's desire to swear his Oath of Allegiance as an MP in Samoan. The Oaths and Declarations Act 1957 allows oaths to be sworn in English and te reo Maori, but not in any other language. This is unnecessarily exclusive, and needs to be changed anyway with the adoption of NZSL as an official language.

To complicate things, the previous government was partway through modernising the law with the Oaths Modernisation Bill. The bill has stalled and is unlikely to proceed, but we may want to consider drafting an SOP just in case it does.

Relevant legislation

Potential changes
For the Oaths and Declarations Act, it is easiest to add additional languages the same way te Reo was added - by allowing regulation. This requires amending s30A and either genericising or cloning s4A to cover other languages.

As the Oaths Modernisation Bill legislates the form of the oaths in both English and Maori, it would probably be easiest to just clone the regulation-making power and adding a generic clause similar to s4A of the existing Act.


  • If the Oaths Modernisation Bill couldn't get through, this probably won't.

Oaths and Declarations (Other Languages) Amendment Bill
Oaths Modernisation Bill SOP

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