Trade Minister Tim Groser is advocating the study of the Maori language for all new entrants.
"My personal view is that we should be teaching Maori to every five-year-old child," he said on TV3's The Nation programme.
The advocacy of compulsion is an unusual position for a National Party minister, and has been controversial in the debate about teaching the Maori language, but Mr Groser says if children learn one language they will be open to learning others.
"If you introduce very young children from New Zealand to the idea of bi-culturalism and more than one language then they will be able to learn other languages as their personal circumstances fit," he said.The Maori Party's policy ahead of last year's election was for te reo to be compulsorily available in schools by 2015. Former ACT Party leader Don Brash said making te reo compulsory was pointless.
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