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Mojo Mathers – Moments of Madness

All this despite the Green party having fore-knowledge and already having access to a taxpayer-funded budget of $5,600,000 over the term of parliament to provide MP Support.. read on..

There was a furious display of Faux Outrage yesterday over a news item that appeared, purporting to indicate that the Speaker of the House of Parliment in New Zealand had told a new MP, who happens to have a disability of profound deafness, that Parliamentary Services would not fund a “note taker” to the sum of $20-30,000, and that she had “to fund it herself”

MPs gets funding to cover 80 hours of staff time a week, or two full-time equivalent workers, for assistants inside and outside Parliament.

Mathers estimates she needs 1000 hours a year for staff to send an instant transcript of proceedings in the debating chamber to a laptop on her desk.

However that’s not quite true, The Original News Article is hereThe Green Party reacted with outrage today after Ms Mathers was told she would have to fund her note-taker from her MP support budget, or that the party would have to fund it.”

I might be wrong but a “note taker” is a physical person who in real-time transcribes what is happening in the debating chamber so that the MP can participate in the debate. And it was pointed out by someone on Twitter “Can I just point out. NZ govt sits for approx 352 hours/yr = 30k/352hrs/3 = $416/hr/govt term. THATS EXPENSIVE!”

The Speaker of the house, Dr Smith, said “while Parliamentary Service paid for the technological support, the actual note-taker was a staffing cost, and he did not have the authority to approve such funding.

“Staff time like that, or support like that, is not something I can just ask the Parliamentary Service to provide,” he said.

“Support for Members of Parliament is something that’s spelt out in the Speaker’s directions, its separately appropriated by Parliament. I can’t, under the law, simply say ‘oh, forget about that, we’ll put a bit of money in from here or there’, it’s something I have to consult on.”

The NZ HErald are  having a poll on the issue today:

And WhaleOil on his blog today posted this  Questions for the Greens.

Why are the Greens not telling anyone that she worked for 5 years as a senior policy advisor for The Greens?

She was also a parliamentary advisor at one point.

That means she was well aware of the Parliamentary environment.

I wonder whether she or the Greens have previously paid for her to have an electronic note taker in that environment before?

Clearly the Greens are using disability as a means to grandstand

It’s also been pointed out variously that this requirement hasn’t come as a surprise, it’s been known about for months, at least since the election in 2011.

Personally I don’t think this is an issue of making the proceedings of the chamber of the house of parliament accessible to 700,000 hearing impaired individuals in NZ, but the introduction of close captioned coverage, I think this the Green party (it could have been any party) pushing the envelope and making an issue to be able to maximize their already generous $5.6million budget, it’s not an attack on the disabled, or one person with a disability, it’s not about the rights of the individual. It’s about troughing.

Nobody that I know of is denying that Mojo Mathers should be able to participate fully in a role as MP, which means that she has a special and specific need, not currently funded or provided for by Parlimentary Services. To me its not a big deal. There is taxpayer funding provided to all parties for MP support, taxpayer funding that they, the MP’s have variously voted for and increased over the years.

Nobody should compare deafness to mobility disability, wheelchair access is provisioned for and is included in the legal requirements for buildings. Deafness and Wheelchair not the same. Not close.

Twitter and various blogs got into a major tizzie over this, and it’s doubtful, today, if any of them have had second thoughts, pause to reconsider or indeed feel sheepish enough to actually agree that what happened wasn’t what they thought, which included the end of the world, end end of democracy, vicious and deliberate disability bashing, wilful and negligent callousness etc etc.

I doubt it.

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This entry was posted on February 15, 2012 by in All about me, Annoyed Much, Fairness, Justsaying, Outrage and tagged , .

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