26 Oct 2007

Passing of Native Hawaiian Government bill hailed by backers

4:51 pm on 26 October 2007

Supporters of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganisation Act say the passing of their bill in the US House of Representatives is an important step and adds weight to their cause.

The House passed the bill by 261 votes to 153.

The legislation would set up a process to create a future Native Hawaiian government and gain federal recognition.

Senator Daniel Akaka, who is behind the legislation, says he was thrilled to see bipartisan support for the legislation .

"To have it pass the way it did is great news for us and it certainly energises us to pursue passing it in the United States Senate."

Senator Akaka says he and other supporters are working to bring it to the Senate floor as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, opponents of the bill say it's divisive and would give a group of US citizens special rights over other citizens based on race only.