We want our Mojo

Written By: - Date published: 4:57 pm, February 14th, 2012 - 91 comments
Categories: Parliament - Tags: , , ,

Making Mojo Mathers pay for the tech she needs to participate in debate is bad enough. She is a democratically elected member and the people who put her there deserve effective representation. Saying that deaf people don’t count as ‘disabled’ is outrageous. More bigotry from Lockwood ‘small hands’ Smith.

91 comments on “We want our Mojo”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    Absurd for Farragoblog to claim its not in the budget so they cant spend it.

    And that would presume they have an absolutely fixed amount in the travel budget for MPs and once its all spent they have to walk ?

    Every year there are adjustments authorised for departments budgets, whats different is Bill English has said ‘over my dead body’.

    Does English want to die in a ditch to make a deaf MP suffer ?

    • Janice 1.1

      On TV news the other night there was a clip of someone speaking in the Greek parliament. In an inset in the corner was a person signing, it appeared that this was a normal occurence. Why can’t our parliament broadcast do the same, the technology is obviously there.

  2. David C 2

    No one has asked Mojo to pay for anything.

    • Populuxe1 2.1

      No, they’re just denying her what she needs to most effectively perform her role as a democratically elected representative of the people, by using her disability as an excuse, via reverse political correctness – which is totally shit.
      New Zealand Sign is an official language of this country and should have the same legal respect and protection as Te Reo does in Parliament. Precedent is already well established by the Christchurch City Council’s use of sign interpreters in their earthquake media briefings.
      Lockwood is just being a bigot and a Natzi whore.

    • grumpy 2.2

      Exactly, never let the facts get in the way of a good story……..

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.3

      Yes they have , what part of ‘use her budget as an MP’ dont you understand.

      • David C 2.3.1

        I understand that to mean Mojo gets to spend my tax dollars to pay for what she needs to do her job which is perfectly fine. Mojo Mathers doesnt have to pay a bean.

        • Te Reo Putake 2.3.1.1

          Nope, it means that she has to blow the budget that is meant to allow her to do her job over the whole term on a single item. Its a brutal attempt to stop her being an effective MP and to bully her a person. And this from the Government that changed the country’s labour laws in 3 days flat at the request of some rich yanks and bunged them millions at the same time. Lockjaw Smirk is a grade A arsehole.

      • MPs’ budgets are for back office support to be used for scheduling and research, not for basic accessibility to the debating chamber. That would be like claiming that an MP in a wheel chair should hire someone to lift them up the stairs out of their budget instead of parliament installing ramps.

        Parliament should be captioning the debate anyway, as NZSL is an official language. Lockwood Smith should commit to a timetable for captioning to start, and they should reach a compromise on a note-taker that doesn’t impoverish either the Green Party or Mojo’s support budgets, but also doesn’t put too high a burden on the taxpayer in the meantime.

        I should also add that live captioning, if posted to the web quickly, could allow for hearing people to excerpt and quote the debating chamber much more easily, enhancing twitter, blog, facebook, and other discussion of parliamentary debates, so this is actually a technical accessibility issue as well as a benefit to the Deaf and hearing-impaired community.

        • handle 2.3.2.1

          Live captioning is a better permanent answer. But $30k is a tiny proportion of Parliament’s annual operating budget in the meantime.

        • Carol 2.3.2.2

          I should also add that live captioning, if posted to the web quickly, could allow for hearing people to excerpt and quote the debating chamber much more easily, enhancing twitter, blog, facebook, and other discussion of parliamentary debates, so this is actually a technical accessibility issue as well as a benefit to the Deaf and hearing-impaired community.

          Ah, but then government MPs couldn’t have as much control over the main circuated print version of their comments in the chamber. Haven’t there been cases of NAct ministers revising the version of their speeches/comments that gets published in Hansard?

  3. handle 3

    Even if Lockwood really does need a rule change to fund the support needs of disabled MPs, he has had since the election to sort this out.

    Press reports before and after the election said that Mojo Mathers would need some changes to the way Parliament works. Other reports since said she was talking with Parlimentary Services since last year about how to address this very low cost requirement. Parliament costs millions to run each year, but democracy doesn’t come free.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 3.1

      What rules ?

      The rule seems to be dont spend over your budget, which is broken all the time.
      Keys bodyguard budget seems to have no limits !

      • handle 3.1.1

        Isn’t Lockwood claiming he needs some extra approval to be allowed to fund diisability support costs?

        • I’m fine if he needs approval from other parts of the government, he should just say there’s a process to go through and that he will emphasise the need to fast-track that approval so that all of New Zealand’s MPs can be effective representatives. He should not have suggested, however, that the government will neither pay anything for note-taking, nor endeavor to provide live captioning of the debate.

        • speaking sense to unions 3.1.1.2

          yes, apparently there is a law that prevents the speaker from unilaterally giving particular MPs extra funding without consulting the other MPs. Even National speakers feel obliged to abide by this law.

          And apparently that’s what the speaker intends to do, abide by the law and consult other MPs.

          On the other hand the speaker could be given the power to allocate resources to MPs whenever and however they feel like it without any oversight. That might be interesting.

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.2.1

            yes, apparently there is a law that prevents the speaker from unilaterally giving particular MPs extra funding

            Really? Whats the name of this law?

            • speaking sense to unions 3.1.1.2.1.1

              from what i’ve read that appears to be the case. Perhaps I’m wrong and the speaker is legally entitled to give whatever funding they feel like to whoever they choose no matter what others may feel. If that were the case then there should be a law against it.

              But there already is for very obvious reasons.

              It might be cumbersome in this particular case but that might be the price to pay for preventing the trouble that would occur if the speaker were above such scrutiny.

              • Colonial Viper

                no such law then?

                Then why didn’t you say so? You should have just said “I reckon Lockwood acted to deny funding according to some law which doesn’t exist yet but I fancy should be there sometime in the future.” pretty smart guy that Lockwood, acting in accordance to some law not yet written.

                • David C

                  Get your hand off it CV.

                  Smith said “Support for members of Parliament is something that’s spelt out in the Speaker’s directions. It’s 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.”

  4. Peter Martin 4

    ‘And that would presume they have an absolutely fixed amount in the travel budget for MPs and once its all spent they have to walk ?’

    Members’ expense disclosure from 1 October 2011 to 31 December 2011, for air, surface travel, Wellington accommodation and non-Wellington accommodation was $3,153,680.
    Not much walking or camping under bridges in that quarter…

    • ghostwhowalksnz 4.1

      The reasons will be a movable feast. It seems now that the discussions were ‘confidential’

  5. It may be and should be in breach of the law.
     
    Section 9 of the New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006 says that “government services and information should be made accessible to the Deaf community through the use of appropriate means (including the use of NZSL).” So there should be an obligation to make information available to Mojo and for her to do her job properly it needs to be done quickly so that she can properly take part in the debates.
     
    She provides a very important point of accessibility for the Deaf community and digital transcribing of the debates will not only allow her to do her job but also for the deaf to follow parliamentary debates.

  6. sdm 6

    I am disgusted by this. And I vote right. Mojo was democratically elected, but has a disability. So she needs some help to perform her job. The employer/state should provide this. To do otherwise is to imply that disabled people are less – and unable to participate in the workings of our democratic institutions. Her election should be celebrated, not be blighted by obstacles.

  7. toad 7

    Mojo made it known to the Parliamentary Service what her requirements for participation in House debate were almost from the day she was elected.

    If it is the case that it require Parliamentary Service Commission approval, it is shameful that the Parliamentary Service and the Speaker have sat on their hands all this time and only now notified her that it would require specific approval from the PSC.

    After all, the PSC is actually just a collection of MPs appointed by the various parties, and could have been urgently convened to address this long before now, given that they are all at Parliament anyway.

    And as for the “there is no appropriation” issue, surely there is:

    Parliamentary Service

    245 Departmental output expenses – Operations, Information and Advisory Services $48,963,000

    • Peter Martin 7.1

      ‘the PSC is actually just a collection of MPs appointed by the various parties’

      I understand it is comprised of Key,Shearer and…one Lockwood Smith.

    • handle 7.2

      And they are complaining about $30,000?

  8. ghostwhowalksnz 8

    Its called ‘a slap in the face for all deaf people’

  9. Mouse Trawler 9

    What a beat up. The Speaker has an appropriation. There are definitions for what he can and can’t spend that money on. He would be breaking the Public Finance Act if he spent it on this. It’s for the Parliamentary Services Commission to decide whether a new appropriation should arise for this. What a disgusting smear this post is.

    • handle 9.1

      Cry me a river. No real harm to Lockwood. Meanwhile a Member of Parliament is blocked from doing her job after cooperating behind the scenes since November. Plenty of time for any changes to have been made.

    • chris73 9.2

      No, this is very good tactics. The left know that this doesn’t stand up to any sort of scrutiny but makes for a very emotive headline.

      I don’t agree with it of course but its still good politics.

      • It absolutely stands up to scrutiny. How is captioning any less an accessibility issue than ramps? And how is the official status of NZSL any less significant than that of Maori, for which excellent procedures are in place in the House?

        The House COULD pay for an interpreter, but long-term captioning is a much better option as it has side-benefits for both the hearing and Deaf/hearing-impaired communities.

    • Lanthanide 9.3

      You are entirely correct, Mouse. As is toad at #7.

      Acting like Lockwood Smith (and/or National) are somehow trying to prevent Mojo from participating in parliament is completely wrong.

      However they have had months to get this sorted and haven’t. That is the real problem here.

      • Populuxe1 9.3.1

        They are, however, targeting her operational budget if they force her to blow it on this

      • Mouse Trawler 9.3.2

        I would also question the costs. The Greens have said Mojo has been paying for it so far (presumably out of her Parliamentary allowances). But how often has Parliament sat since she got elected? Why does she need a digital interpreter all the time? Parliament only sits for 30 weeks a year, and Question Time is the only time when almost all the MPs are in the chamber, for four hours a week. $30,000 for 120 hours interpreting sounds like a rort. Why should there be a digital interpreter when Mojo isn’t in the Chamber?

        • mickysavage 9.3.2.1

          Because then the Deaf community can do what the rest of us do and follow Parliament.

          Sheesh.  It ought to be part of the service now. 

        • Populuxe1 9.3.2.2

          New Zealand Sign is an official language of this country. The technology should be there all the time on principle, just as Te Reo interpreters are on call. It is symbolic of the equality of NZ citizens.

        • Why does she need an interpreter all the time? Because she’s too deaf to be able to follow the proceedings by lipreading, which given the layout of the house isn’t really possible for anyone who isn’t Speaker, anyway.

          There should be captioning done when Mojo isn’t in the chamber because NZSL is an official language, people who sign have as much right to access the debate as people who speak, and because it has side-benefits to the hearing community, and the hearing-impaired who don’t identify as Deaf, such as senior New Zealanders who are losing their hearing. The government should pay for that as part of its obligations to accessibility and human rights, regardless of whether it benefits an individual MP, and especially because it is necessary for the effectiveness of all MPs now that we’ve entered an era where Deaf MPs are a possibility.

    • So Mouse Trawler do you know the appropriations back to front and have you checked them and can you say for sure that her need of assistance is not covered?

      Really? 

      • Mouse Trawler 9.4.1

        If it was covered in the appropriations then why didn’t Margaret Wilson introduce it when she was Speaker?

        • mickysavage 9.4.1.1

          Feck

          Crosby Textor list of diversionary comments:

          57.  If accused of failing to make Parliament more open to minorities or failing to provide equipment necessary for the first deaf MP to do her job properly say Margaret Wilson should have funded it when she was Speaker … 

          EDIT:

          BTW

          1. You said it was an appropriations problem
          2. I asked you if you had completely checked appropriations.
          3. You did not answer but blamed Margaret Wilson.

          How about you answer my question?

          • Mouse Trawler 9.4.1.1.1

            So does Grant Robertson get more money from the taxpayer because it’s much more expensive to have an office in central Wellington than in Masterton? No he doesn’t. Does that mean he’s discriminated against and has to get his Party leader to help out to cover with the extra costs he faces? Sure he does. Same goes for offices in the three CBDs for which there aren’t special allowances made. It’s not discriminatory. Party leaders budgets are designed to even things out. The Greens are just being greedy and want more taxpayer money.

            • mickysavage 9.4.1.1.1.1

              Hey Mouse Trawler.  You still have not answered my question.  Have you completely checked appropriations?

              • Mouse Trawler

                Oh look, the dipshit who was captain of the Silent T Felching team gets pissed when I don’t answer his questions in the stupid way he’s framed them. If you are going to go all crosby textor every time somebody has a different opinion from your stupid “everyone in National is bad” then don’t expect me to answer your stupid questions buddy.

                • Oh look someone who has only made two comments before today ever on the Standard but then makes multiple comments, professes an understanding of appropriations, knows all about me yet is unable to answer a very simple question.

                  So MT, you still have not answered my question.  Have you completely checked appropriations?

        • Populuxe1 9.4.1.2

          Because parliament is a slow beat coasting on inertia. The need hadn’ been as urgent, and it’s no excuse anyway. It needs sorting NOW

        • So if it was covered in the appropriations then why distraction distraction distraction? 😉

  10. SHG 10

    Meh. Don’t care.

  11. RedLogix 11

    Just had a conversation with my brother who is deaf/blind (yeah that may sound like a non-sequitor, but I’ve had a lifetime of living with him)… and his response on this story varies between:

    1. This is how we get treated all the time, what’s new?

    and

    2. The contemptible arsehole that is Smith.

  12. I reckon if the Government cannot be shamed into doing this we should have a whip around.  Three thousand of us putting in $10 each ought to do it.

    • Mouse Trawler 12.1

      Or ya’know, maybe the Green Party could pay for it out of the six mill they’re getting from the taxpayer already, eh?

      • burt 12.1.1

        Mouse Trawler

        Get a life, sure the Green party are getting tax payers money… sure I personally think they could be a shit load more effective in how they spend it…. but come on. We are talking about a person here. Not a party.

      • muzza 12.1.2

        What a tortured little tindividual you must be….hey why has Gosman been so quiet, and why are your responses so similar to his?

        Gosman????

        • Mouse Trawler 12.1.2.1

          No I’m not Gosman. You sound a lot like Penny Bright. Are you out of jail yet Penny?

          • muzza 12.1.2.1.1

            What do you have agaist people with disabilities, because your posts indicate you clearly have a problem, and you can’t even answer the question posed to you above by MS.

            Trawler is appropriate!

      • mickysavage 12.1.3

        Mousy you still have not answered my question.

      • That money is for research and support and is not intended to cover accessibility issues. It would be kinda like asking a guy with a cane or someone on crutches to pay for lifts to be installed in their office.

    • burt 12.2

      mickysavage

      As much as I agree with your sentiment, and I would happily add my $10 to your collection – it’s wrong that it should take this sort of action to solve the issue.

      But… if it gets to this – you can count on me.

      • mickysavage 12.2.1

        On ya burt.

        What a day, first I agree with Fisi about something and then Burt and I agree to help fund necessary work equipment for a Green MP!! 

        • burt 12.2.1.1

          Well mickysavage it’s no surprise we agree when you propose a funding solution based on the willing and concerned donating their own money rather than a tax on ‘the rich’ with no accountability for actually delivering anything in particular.

  13. Anne 13

    How about John Key paying for it out of his personal fortune of $60million and rising. After all, he’s on record as saying that his PM’s salary of $500,000 p.a. goes to charity although we’re still waiting to learn which charities. Felix has suggested it’s the Waitemata Trust and I think he is probably right!

    • burt 13.1

      Policies of envy alive and well…. Perhaps Helen Clark could sell one of her multiple houses to prove a point… Get a life and get over the fact Key has more than most of us.

      • Colonial Viper 13.1.1

        Policies of greed mate…the greed of the wealthy who just can’t stop until they pop

        • burt 13.1.1.1

          Yeah, 5 fricken houses in NZ when you live in NY – what’s with that ? Hell there are long waiting lists for public housing…. greedy indeed !

          See dude, it’s all about how you spin it !

          For the record: Good on her for accumulating that wealth. Well done.

          • lovinthatchangefeeling 13.1.1.1.1

            Or get The Grey Ghost to contribute. Shearer has 5 houses and 2 trusts. Surely he and clark are part of the 1%

            • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.1.1.1

              The Righties can’t cope with the fact that Labour types have money lol

              • burt

                So what is it CV…

                the greed of the wealthy who just can’t stop until they pop…

                Or

                It’s OK for Labour types to have money…..

                Actually don’t bother answering I know what it is with you because we have had this discussion before; It’s OK when your team do it… It’s different when Labour do it….

                You really need to contemplate your comments and think about actually forming an overall position and sticking to it. This reacting blow by blow mode you get into so often shows you up as a half thinker.

          • Fortran 13.1.1.1.2

            Helen, gets besides all her own (tax free staff) that she wants, paid for by UN, in excess of US$500,000 “tax free” like all UN employees, plus all the perks you could imagine, including accomodation and exec jets, so why should she not be able to buy as much property in New Zealand. She could even buy a farm next.

    • Mouse Trawler 13.2

      Or how about Helen Clark pay it out of her millions, or Shearer or Goff out of theirs?

      • felix 13.2.1

        The point of the quip, my dear dim-witted little rodent friend, was that Key has gained a certain amount of mileage out of the myth of his philanthropy.

        Let’s see it in action.

        • Fortran 13.2.1.1

          Key’s Parliamentary salary all goes to charity (and always has done).
          He also pays for his wife and family to go wherever.

          • Te Reo Putake 13.2.1.1.1

            Cool, so you’ll have some evidence for that, obviously. I think all of us are keen to find out which charity it goes to. Looking forward to you telling us, Fortran, don’t let us down!

    • Reality Bytes 13.3

      Or how about those dasdardly voters that dared to excercise their democratic right and vote for Mojo front up the cash! Yup about $1 each or something should do it!

      Don’t chuckle about that too soon Nat supporters, If that serves as a precedent we start following, you guys will need to fork out a lot more than $1 lol, and for stuff that’s a LOT more trivial too if you don’t mind.

      Jokes and light-heartedness aside. This is disgraceful considering that sign language is literally the third most important national language, and what are we talking about $30-40k? to improve democracy!? That’s a pitince compared to some of the trivial stuff money gets pissed away on. Lockwoods slack inaction is deplorable, the guy should be sacked.

      Take note of who supports and opposes this, quite telling about their personas.

      • We don’t rank our national languages by importance, legally speaking. Once you make official language, Parliament, courts, government departments, the lot are all required to be accessible in that language as necessary and practical. There is nothing impractical or unreasonable about this request.

        • Reality Bytes 13.3.1.1

          Yeah that was the wrong choice of word, it bothered me that I said that and it could be misunderstood, I meant popularity of the language.

          Either way 30-40k for is a drop in the ocean, and for such a great reason as improving accessibility to democracy, this should have been easily signed off.

          Also bearing in mind this technology could assist beyond just Mojo’s immediate circumstances it could have assisted other people with hearing problems to follow and be involved better in democracy, and of course future MPs.

          Mr Key wasn’t really bothered signing off 250 times that figure for meaningless trivialities like having a late model BMW fleet. He didn’t notice, forgot etc it was a meaningless bill to sign away on the taxpayers tab.

          I don’t know about you, but BMWs all look pretty much the same to me over the last 30 years, oh maybe that meaningless stupid bump above the back windscreen was worth dropping a few million on. I don’t know it’s not my area of knowledge, to dissect the subtle differences in pointless upgrades for rather boring average over-priced ego cars.

  14. Jackal 14

    On Closeup tonight, Lockwood Smith claimed he asked Parliamentary Services to investigate new technology for Mojo. So he asked about what technology was required but didn’t bother to organize a way of funding its implementation?

    Lockwood also said that he can’t unilaterally change the appropriation funding system. Now hang on a minute… the only requirement of Treasury under the Public Finance Act 1989 is that they have to provide the amount of expenses and capital expenditure authorized to be incurred and then the amount that was actually incurred. There appears to be little limitation to additional costs. Therefore there is really no issue in funding Parliamentary services to provide the required service. It is of course a parliamentary purpose to ensure all MP’s are able to work effectively.

    Lockwoods misrepresentation of the Public Finance Act 1989 and Appropriations Act 2010 is clearly discrimination against a duly elected representative.

    Unbelievably Lockwood makes the excuse that the decision not to fund Mojo’s requirements is because the media has previously criticized the governments overspending… completely ignoring the fact that none of the mainstream media has said funding Mojo’s requirements is a waste of money.

    Perhaps he needs another holiday.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 14.1

      Its National new policy ,,, slapping the face of the disadvantaged…… we have rules you know

  15. handle 15

    Lockwood seems confused about what communication support involves. Relaxed about funding equipment but not people to work it. The whole point is to make Parliament work properly for Mojo, not the other way around.

  16. tc 16

    Greens missed a golden opportunity to ping smith for the dinosaur he is by not having the story aligned and bite size over their meeting with him, move on do better next time.

    The Nats can add it to the SCF bailout or the whanau ora trough….or the Beemer fuel bill

    • burt 16.1

      Perhaps it can be added to the $158,000 Winston “borrowed” in 2005 – we can pretend he’s a normal person who gets pinged with penalties and interest for unpaid debts to the public purse !!!!!

  17. Grumpy 17

    A ridiculous situation. I’m with Burt and Mickey savage, I’ll even go to $20!

  18. felix 18

    Hilarity from the Slater child. He’s awfully upset that “electronic note-taking” involves employing someone to take notes.

    See it’s not the 30 grand that bothers him, but the disgusting idea that someone might actually get a job out of it.

    He also reckons being deaf is the same as being drunk.

    Funny people, right-wingers.

    • Te Reo Putake 18.1

      If being deaf in the house was the same as being drunk in the house, surely Key would be on Mojo’s side?

  19. Dv 19

    In breaking news
    The speaker has removed all microphone from parliment.
    And all mps must transcribe their speechs for hansard.

    He said that was if he was going to called a dinasour, he would behave like one.

  20. Couldn’t agree more. This is my latest blog on the subject:

    http://www.gaynz.com/blogs/redqueen/?p=503

  21. A.Ziffel 21

    From the NZ Parliament site –

    Sign Language
    Sign language is New Zealand’s third official language. Reporting Services is developing a capability to provide a sign language interpretation service for the House and select committees when required.

    If Reporting services provided a interpreter in the chamber, the only technology requirement would be for a monitor on the members’ desks so that they can see the interpreter clearly on the closed circuit/TV feed.

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