20 Jun 2006

Native Hawaiian bill set to fail - senator

3:34 pm on 20 June 2006

A Republican senator in Hawaii says the Native Hawaiian bill was destined to fail because of it lacked the support of local people.

Also known as the Akaka bill, it would have granted native Hawaiians a degree of self government but was defeated 56 votes to 41 in the US senate last week.

Republican state Senator Sam Slom says in seven years of lobbying, there had been no open debate, referendum or plebiscite on the bill.

"The fact that there was never this discussion and never the openness or the transparency gave rise to a fear by many in the US senate that they were asked to pass something that was not defined, didn't have any limits on it and did not have the full support of the people in Hawaii which included taxpayers, native hawaiian groups themselves and small businesses."

Senator Sam Slom says President Bush and the US Justice Department were also opposed to the bill, and the US Civil Rights Commission said it was constitutionally flawed.