Hours for Mathers

February 15th, 2012 at 8:42 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Parliamentary Service was working hard to provide technology and he had asked officials to explore voice recognition software. “That technology is something we are working on right now. That doesn’t have to wait for a Parliamentary Service Commission,” he said.

Smith also accused Mathers and Green party whip Gareth Hughes of politicising the matter and making public the details of a private meeting.

So it is not a dispute over technology to help her do her job, as it appeared yesterday. That is being provided. It is a dispute over hours.

Each MP gets funding to cover 80 hours of staff time, or two full-time equivalent workers, a week.

estimates she needs 1000 hours a year for electronic note-taking required for her to participate in Parliament through a laptop on her debating chamber desk.

The Speaker has suggested the other 13 Green MPs pool their support budgets to give some of their unused support hours to Mathers.

Now I do support Mathers being given extra hours, but this can’t be done at the whim of the Speaker. All Electorate MPs gets 120 hours a week and all List MPs 80 hours a week. To give Mathers extra hours you need to set up a third category of MP, and publish a formal determination specifying the criteria to qualify, and what the extra support hours or funding will be.

It is worth noting that the Green caucus as a whole gets 56,000 hours of support staff a year, plus $1.88 million of funding. The 1,000 hours is less than 2% of their overall hours and a party that consists entirely of List MPs rarely uses all its allocated hours up.

Again, I support a change to the funding rules to cater for a situation like Mathers. But the Greens could have chosen to work with the Speaker to establish a time-table for changing the determinations, rather than do a hatchet job on him.

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75 Responses to “Hours for Mathers”

  1. immigant (950 comments) says:

    So sick of this. Someone just pay 30 000, this is laughable. I hate the Greens but the fact that 30K is preventing a disabled person taking part in our democracy reflects badly on every New Zealander. Also, what kind of name is Mojo, isn’t that british slang for “Baby batter?”

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  2. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    Hughes again, eh.

    What a surprise.

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  3. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    Mathers stock just went down in my book.
    She’s a spin merchant just like the rest of them. Shame on her, and the Greens, for using her disability for political points.

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  4. Nick R (507 comments) says:

    It has been almost 3 months since the election. This should have been sorted by now, so I don’t blame the Greens for making this political. But frankly, the rules around who funds what around Parliament are so complicated (well, I find them complicated) that I have no idea who is responsible for sorting it out.

    @immigant – as a humble pom I can say I have never heard of the word mojo given that meaning in England…

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  5. flipper (4,077 comments) says:

    Good satuff DPF…
    Whale posted this comment which seems to clarify some matters also coivered by you:

    “Electronic notetaking (ENT), also known as computer-assisted notetaking (CAN), is a system that provides virtually simultaneous access to spoken information to people who are deaf and hard of hearing, facilitating equal participation with their |hearing colleagues, coworkers, and classmates. ENT is most often used in educational or training sessions, but can also be used at health care appointments, meetings, or interviews.

    Using dedicated software, a trained operator types a summary of the spoken information into a computer at a minimum typing speed of 60 words per minute. The text is then projected on a screen or transmitted to a second computer.

    The text also provides a written record of sessions, which is particularly useful for deaf and hard of hearing attendees because taking notes whilst lip reading or watching a sign language interpreter is difficult.”

    So the real issue is staffing. This young lady was NOT elected to Parliament. She floated in on the Green Party list. They chose her (voters had no choice), so pay for her extra staffing.

    As for the media coverage (just crap, as is Peters) ……do we need to wonder?

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  6. Rich Prick (1,705 comments) says:

    Whilst I have some sympathy for Mathers, having a great blub in the media is not the way to go. Other Green MP’s could simply give Mathers support time allocated to them. Or are they all a bit too mean?

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  7. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Gareth Hughes doesn’t seem to know the difference between election social media campaiging and parliamentary procedures – or he chooses to ignore it.

    What responsibilities does a whip/musterer have?

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  8. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    The fact remains that Mojo Mathers and the Greens advised the Parliamentary Service of this requirement within a couple of days of her being elected. I recall her tweeting about the Parliamentary Service’s non-responsiveness back in December.

    If it requires Parliamentary Service Commission approval, and now that more information is available I accept it probably does, why didn’t Speaker Lockwood Smith convene a Parliamentary Service Commission meeting back in December to get it sorted? Either the Parliamentary Service has been tardy in its communications with him on the issue, or he has known about it for some time and chosen to sit on his hands.

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  9. kowtow (8,512 comments) says:

    Male presenter on TV1 Breakfast says democracy is about having diversity in parliament.

    I think “diversity” is a crock of shit. I don’t want “diverse” MPs for the sake of diversity, I want quality MPs.

    And the Greens sure aren’t quality.

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  10. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    >It is worth noting that the Green caucus as a whole gets 56,000 hours of support staff a year, plus $1.88 million of funding. The 1,000 hours is less than 2% of their overall hours and a party that consists entirely of List MPs rarely uses all its allocated hours up.

    So do the Greens want to move from a system where they’re bulk funded for all their staff and office requirements and can spend it on what they like, to a system where they get the Speaker’s sign off for all spending?

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  11. big bruv (13,923 comments) says:

    Toad

    You guys cannot find $30,000 out of a budget of 1.88 million?

    Fuck off!, this is nothing more than a publicity stunt.

    If moonbat Mathers wants to be a part of the house then either she pays or you pay.

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  12. Manolo (13,828 comments) says:

    Ah, the publicity-seeking Luddites!

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  13. alex Masterley (1,517 comments) says:

    So what is the reason the Greens could not have funded the note taking from their budget.
    I would have thought that they would have made an allowance for that when selecting Ms Mathers as a list candidate and placing her high enough to be brought into parliament.

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  14. BeaB (2,125 comments) says:

    The taxpayer funds 80 hours of staff support time for her already. Despite her spin on TV, she has not been voted in by a constituency so does not need a local office etc.
    Surely she should be using these hours for support which in her case means someone with her in the House.
    If she thinks that is unfair (puhleese) her party should be chipping in some of their generous hours considering none of them has an electorate, all of them being very well funded List MPs.

    I am all for helping the disabled to live as close to normal lives as possible but I do get tired of all this bandwagon bleating.

    Perhaps Parliament should vote her Mojo Money so we all know she is getting even more out of our pockets. Typical of the Greedy Greens.

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  15. pidge (56 comments) says:

    I agreed with DPF that this needs sorting out, but there’s a question going begging here – How did Mathers cope without these aids until now?

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  16. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Now I do support Mathers being given extra hours, but this can’t be done at the whim of the Speaker. All Electorate MPs gets 120 hours a week and all List MPs 80 hours a week. To give Mathers extra hours you need to set up a third category of MP, and publish a formal determination specifying the criteria to qualify, and what the extra support hours or funding will be.

    Why does it need to be extra hours for Ms Mathers? Couldn’t the immediate partial transcript be available to all MPs?

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  17. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    toad – Mathers tweeting in December should have sorted it all out? And if not a Gareth tweet attack yesterday should get the balls kicked and the ball rolling?

    I think Greens got too obsessed with collecting their own crusadership kudos. If it had been dealt with as providing coverage of Parliament for the hearing impaired, and that Mathers could take advantage of that it would have been seen in a different light.

    – as per Graeme Edgeler ^

    The way it came across yesterday was that it was all about Greens and about Mather’s personal needs. Maybe that plays well to the devoted but it looks like game playing to the wider audience.

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  18. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    I agreed with DPF that this needs sorting out, but there’s a question going begging here – How did Mathers cope without these aids until now?

    What do you mean “until now”?
    In life, she can lip read, but that is difficult in Parliament.
    In Parliament, she can speak, but probably hasn’t been involved in any cut and thrust at the time.

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  19. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Why not make the system tie in with Hansard? Since Hansard have to write a transcript anyway, it might be more efficient than having a transcript writer for only one MP.

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  20. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Hansard may not be colourful enough?

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  21. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    It’s worth acknowledging that the debating chamber isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, there is no equality of skill in the ‘cut and thrust’ domain.

    Different MPs have different strengths – and much of the real work happens outside the house.

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  22. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    The media endlessly parroting Green Party spin is sickening. TVNZ in particular. I urge anyone feelling the same way to make a complaint to the BSA, citing lack of accuracy, which I believe is Article # 5 in the free to Air Broadcasting Charter.

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  23. tvb (4,430 comments) says:

    The Greens are allocated a budget to provide support for their MPs to do parliamentary work. In fact they received a significant increase this year. I cannot see why support for this MP cannot be provided within their existing allocations As for special technology for the House I can see that should be provided by the Parliamentary Service. But Dr Smith gets himself into these situations and cannot box himself out. He has shown great skill as Speaker but He will lose this argument, the Greens are quite skillful at twisting things their way when it would have been dead easy to twist it the other way and make the Greens look prejudiced against their own MP.

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  24. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    Is there not a range of voice recognition software that already exists to transform the spoken word into text?

    If you plugged that in to the mic of the MP who has the floor, then you’d get just as much translation as the “note” taker.

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  25. Spam (588 comments) says:

    The fact remains that Mojo Mathers and the Greens advised the Parliamentary Service of this requirement within a couple of days of her being elected. I recall her tweeting about the Parliamentary Service’s non-responsiveness back in December.

    If it requires Parliamentary Service Commission approval, and now that more information is available I accept it probably does, why didn’t Speaker Lockwood Smith convene a Parliamentary Service Commission meeting back in December to get it sorted? Either the Parliamentary Service has been tardy in its communications with him on the issue, or he has known about it for some time and chosen to sit on his hands.

    So is the official green party line that it is about unresponsiveness of the PSC or about Lockwood denying the request?

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  26. alex Masterley (1,517 comments) says:

    Rouppe,

    Yes there is voice recogntion software available.

    Dragon dictate is an example.

    It would not be workable in the debating chamber as it is opperator orientated as it has to “learn” how the user speaks.

    Beacuse there are “multiple users” in the debating chamber at any one time I think the software would have a meltdown as it would not cope with the racket.

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  27. Mark (496 comments) says:

    The greens just think to the taxpayer as an endless pool of money to fund themselves a lavish lifestyle, they are already been given millions of dollars and they can’t seem to exist within thier budget for thier MPs.

    All the greens care about is great rich at the expense of the taxpayer.

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  28. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Is there not a range of voice recognition software that already exists to transform the spoken word into text?

    I don’t know if it’s up to this task yet.

    VR software needs to be trained to particular voices. I think it would still struggle with the range of voices in parliament – MPs like Key and Peters are well known for ‘unusual’ ennunciation.

    And for other hearing impaired people Mathers herself would be different to decipher.

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  29. david (2,557 comments) says:

    I suppose PS is not subject to OIA so it would not be possible to get the figures relating to uptake of support hours broken down by party for the last 5 years. Would be helpful information to have.

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  30. Put it away (2,878 comments) says:

    It’s a lot of money to enable the participation of someone with nothing useful to say.

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  31. Griff (7,791 comments) says:

    There is way to much THE GREENS as a reason to hinder the womans participation in parliament.

    Any service should be available to all.
    Parliament sits for long hours this service would help in allowing anyone whose concentration slips to rapidly review the debate.

    Make use of technology available.

    Information technology is changing at an incredible pace We must keep up.

    rouppe
    You need to train it. very difficult when there are 120 participants.

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  32. dave (988 comments) says:

    What was not in the initial media story:

    1. If there was no meeting of the PSC in December, why not, given it had issues to sort out?
    2. Lockwood Smith is chair of PSC
    3. This is about note-taking, not technology pe se
    4. (apparently) What Lockwood actually said to the Greens in the meeting.

    And Graeme, is the immediate partial transcript as simultaneous as the electronic note-taking, if not that’s not as equal access as possible for deaf and hearing impaired Members.

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  33. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    So how does Suri manage it then? Seems to work pretty well with just about whoever buys the iPhone whether it be male, female, American, English….

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  34. Griff (7,791 comments) says:

    Multiple copies of VRS one running on each mike. Compiled you could see all comments including the background whine.
    Ability to “r i p” or else wise arrange the information on screen is available.

    Win Win
    Rather than moan moan.

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  35. Viking2 (11,484 comments) says:

    The big problem here is not so much the taxpayer funded Parliament but that the same outfit will then see fit to legislate that every employer must do the same.
    If one loses their legs they can no longer with any sense of responsibility apply for a job climbing ladders or mustering sheep. It just doesn’t work so they have to retrain to do something that is within their capabilities. In this case the impairment was well known and therefore one should ask how that person qualifies to do that job.
    She doesn’t

    Any employer would have to say, sorry but you are unable to do the job or find another reason to say the same thing in another way.

    More social engineering at a cost to NZ.

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  36. bka (135 comments) says:

    There is a fairly frequent complaint from MPs down the back that they can’t hear what is being said because of interjections, so if this leads to a transcript that everyone can get on their laptop it could make things flow better.
    It may also help with MPs who are not in the House and need to catch up with debate, or with something said concerning them

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  37. KevinH (1,229 comments) says:

    Mojo Mathers does have a disability and her winning a seat in Parliament has provided Parliamentary Services with a lithmus test to determine whether they can provide for an M.P. with a disability, according to numerous pieces of legislation and several millions of dollars placed at their disposal.
    The outcome is that Parliamentary Services have failed Mojo miserably.

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  38. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    Looks like the Greens failed Mojo miserably, and Winston came to the rescue.

    It’s not difficult, Greens. Just share your hours. Problem solved.

    You can solve problems, can’t you?

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  39. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    You would think been deaf in parliament would be somewhat of a blessing, wouldn’t have to listen to the socialist dribble/bullshit coming from the opposition benches.

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  40. Gerrit (107 comments) says:

    Griff,

    Correct me if I’m wrong but (according to my wife who uses this software in a legal office) each copy of the VRS has to be programmed/corrected with the individual speakers manner of speech. The secretary has to spend considerable time correcting mistyped words, sentence structure and insert formatting. It is not instant if you want legible voice to text conversion.

    http://www.nuance.com/dragon/index.htm

    The VRS would need to be programmed and able to transript both Maori and English.

    Is it practicable to have 120 versions of VRS able to spit out instanty text? Text that will contain plenty of gibberish (especially if the microphone picks up the interjections from others).

    After all if Winston Peters can hear interjections across the chamber, so can individual microphones.

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  41. david (2,557 comments) says:

    If real-time transcripts were available, there would be nothing to prevent MPs from just sitting in their offices and reading the transcript, perhaps a voice synthesizor could be hooked in to allow them to send interjections back via their keyboards. We could then have dumb MPs fully participating ……. oh wait ……….. too late

    Hey, why not go one further and disband sittings of the house totally.

    MPs all round the country could just sit at home and hurl abuse at each other via the internet. Speeches could be put up on line and then interjected at and argued against – just think how much we would save if they did not need to travel to Wellington.

    This Mojo thing has raised all sorts of possibility.

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  42. tvb (4,430 comments) says:

    I have no doubt the Greens will use Mathers disability to great political benefit. But they do not want to provide her with the necessary support for which they receive a substantial contribution from the Parliamentary Service. The Greens should be asked why they do not want to provide Ms Mathers with the support they are funded to provide.

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  43. big bruv (13,923 comments) says:

    It seems that Moonbat Mathers has been working in Parliament for some time prior to her being ‘elected’ to the house. Apparently she has worked as an adviser to the Greens.

    Now, this begs the question how the fuck did she manage to do her work without $30,000 worth of support?

    Once again the Greens are telling lies it seems.

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  44. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    Poor widdle Mojo. Won’t anyone think of the cwildren! Nasty meanies. It’s all someone elses fawlt!

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  45. flipper (4,077 comments) says:

    So sweet, innocent Mojo…

    It turns out that you are a she-wolf running around in lamb’s clothing.
    It also seems that Smithy was being kind when he put your posturing nonsense down to “inexperience”.

    When will the media learn? Read on…..

    “Questions for the Greens

    by Whaleoil on February 15, 2012

    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.

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  46. catwoman (123 comments) says:

    Quote from Gareth Hughes page on Greens website. It does highlight the intelligence of the man.

    “…….but also knows that he is where he is because he has always been himself.”

    WTF????

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  47. Paulus (2,631 comments) says:

    Another part of a distillation of anti Key/Government.
    This time by Mojo Greenpeace.
    Winston has tagged on the end because he is good at spending other people’s money by not paying it back.
    GREENS – pay the extra costs yourselves out of your budget – and stop being so bloody stupid – you knew what Mojo Greenpeace was like when you put her on the list. If she cannot perform her responsibilities get rid of her.
    Look at current poll in the Herald.

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  48. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    I’ve just been catching up on question time yesterday, thanks YouTube. One question was Norman trying to beat up on Chinese people, again without success. He really has it in for the Chinese ever since they took his flag. BUT… Mathers was clearly visible sitting in the chamber behind Norman. If she can’t understand what’s going on then what was she doing? It wasn’t as if she was reading papers or surfing the web, she was just sitting there looking at the back of Norman’s head.

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  49. BlairM (2,341 comments) says:

    There’s just no words to describe the length of bullshit being propagated by Mathers and the Greens here.

    NZ Sign Language is an official language. That would seem to necessitate a deaf interpreter in Parliament, just as there is now a Maori interpreter. I don’t know if one currently exists, but if not, that would seem to be the extent of the assistance she requires to participate.

    Anything else they are asking for is grandstanding, unadulterated crap. FFS, she’s deaf, not retarded. Or is she?!

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  50. Australis (101 comments) says:

    How many MPs spend 1000 hours sitting in the debating chamber, hanging on every word?

    And if the Greens’ sole unsatisfied requirement is a 2% increase in their (under-utilised) staffing hours, why is this seen as a national issue?

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  51. BeaB (2,125 comments) says:

    It’s obvious why this suddenly hit the news yesretday when the Greens have had since November to get it sorted.

    Today it’s Moaning Mojo’s maiden speech and she has cleverly manipulated the media into giving it the kind of coverage she couldn’t otherwise have hoped for.

    All those years working in Parliament for the Greedy Greens have taught her how to hog the headlines.

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  52. Rat (383 comments) says:

    Rightly or Wrongly, Lockwood will never win this one.

    In politics, perception is everything.

    Imagine it were Labour in power

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  53. Yvette (2,822 comments) says:

    It has been almost 3 months since the election.

    Is it not correct that Ms Mathers has worked in Parliament for 5 years and would have been fully aware of what her present position would require of her, and was that not all given proper consideration when she allowed her name to go forward to the Party List quite sometime before the Election?

    If the Greens have not been able sort this small matter out already why do they think anyone should have any faith in their participating in running the whole fucking country?
    Another teacup storm [no wonder Winston wants to be involved]

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  54. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    And Graeme, is the immediate partial transcript as simultaneous as the electronic note-taking, if not that’s not as equal access as possible for deaf and hearing impaired Members.

    Dave – “Immediate Partial Transcript” was how I was defining electronic note-taking (which I understand is not verbatim).I’ve been fairly annoyed by the coverage of this from just about every angle, and was pulling up DPF on the suggestion that this was necessarily about extra staff for Ms Mathers. It could very easily be staff members who provide electronic notes to everyone who wants them.

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  55. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Yvette: If the Greens have not been able sort this small matter out already

    Someone apparently tweeted on it last December, surely that should have sorted it all out.

    Rat: Rightly or Wrongly, Lockwood will never win this one.

    He isn’t in the Speaker’s chair to win, he’s there to get MPs to abide by the rules and spirit of parliament. He has a responsibility to abide by the rules as well.

    In politics, perception is everything.

    No it’s not. Political PR merchants think it is to inflate the perception of their importance, and to kid politicians that they only have to create perceptions and don’t have to worry about doing anything real and useful.

    Political PR is mostly a bubble of bollocks.

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  56. BeaB (2,125 comments) says:

    Of course now she has guaranteed she will be the go-to MP on disability matters.
    I know how dreadul deafness is from my own family but it’s a shame when you let it define you.

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  57. BeaB (2,125 comments) says:

    Well said Pete George. Inlike Rat I beleive in politics truth (and being true to yourself) is everything in politics.
    It’s when politicians lose their grip on the truth that they fall. Just look at Helen Clark and Phil Goff. not to mention Tony Blair.

    The idea that it’s perception that is everything is insulting to us the voters and the basis for endless and deceptive spin.

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  58. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    PR. Perception. Spin. Spiral. Spaghetti. Can it.

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  59. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    “Well said Pete George. Inlike Rat I beleive in politics truth (and being true to yourself) is everything in politics.
    It’s when politicians lose their grip on THEIR truth that they fall. Just look at Helen Clark and Phil Goff. not to mention Tony Blair.”

    fixed.

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  60. BeaB (2,125 comments) says:

    Apologies for the typos.

    Should have read:
    Well said Pete George. Unlike Rat I believe in politics truth (and being true to yourself) is everything in politics.
    It’s when politicians lose their grip on the truth that they fall. Just look at Helen Clark and Phil Goff. not to mention Tony Blair.

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  61. lastmanstanding (1,297 comments) says:

    Like all LEFTIES the Greens want the long suffering tax payer to pay. They put her on their List knowing she had a hearing problem. They should have made provision for this. they are a bunch of irresponsible wastes of oxygen.

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  62. sparky (235 comments) says:

    @lastmanstanding: I absolutely agree with you 100%. No way should the Tax Payer be funding Ms Mathers note taker. The Greens took this lady on, so it is there responsibility to support her. Quite frankly the Greens are full of hot air, all talk and rediculous suggestions.

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  63. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    I think Lockwood Smith has been the best speaker in the last 15 years but he’s shot himself in the foot on this.
    He could have used the opportunity to make the electronic note taking available for all MP’s not just her and made it live to us the taxpayer on the web too!

    $30k for one person to do that, why not go the whole hog and make it $60k and it could be in Te Reo too.
    They waste that much of our after tax monies each year so at least we’d get something worthwhile out of them.

    He has sadly sullied his tenure and memory just when he’s leaving, this could have been a great moment for open government and his legacy.

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  64. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    He could have taken hrs off of all the parties if need be to do this.

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  65. Russell Brown (405 comments) says:

    I think “diversity” is a crock of shit. I don’t want “diverse” MPs for the sake of diversity, I want quality MPs.

    And the Greens sure aren’t quality.

    Mathers entered Parliament at the expense of the witless Aaron Gilmore.

    I am extremely confident that any objective assessment of respective “quality” would find strongly in her favour.

    But the point here is that Mathers should be able to perform the Parliamentary role she was elected to perform. That’s pretty much what “Member of Parliament” means.

    The answer is not to force her to raid her own MP support budget — putting her at an immediate disadvantage to every other MP in the House — but for Parliamentary Services to provide an appropriate service.

    The fact that providing that service would go much of the way towards providing closed-captioning of Parliament TV for the hundreds of thousands of hearing-impaired New Zealanders is a bonus. And if not now, then one day, those New Zealanders could be you.

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  66. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    Mathers entered Parliament at the expense of the witless Aaron Gilmore.

    Wow, wonder if you feel the same way about Choudry? Or is your denigration of others only aimed towards National Party MP’s?

    But the point here is that Mathers should be able to perform the Parliamentary role she was elected to perform.

    So, what proportion of the NZ public voted directly for Ms Mathers during the election?

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  67. Russell Brown (405 comments) says:

    Wow, wonder if you feel the same way about Choudry? Or is your denigration of others only aimed towards National Party MP’s?

    I think Choudry’s a non-entity, for sure.

    But — to take one example — Gilmore went to the papers and dumped on Christchurch Red Zone property owners for demanding geotech reports he claimed were already published. Trouble is, he really had no grasp of the matter and the reports were still, as the residents said, secret. That’s a pretty special level of witlessness right there.

    So, what proportion of the NZ public voted directly for Ms Mathers during the election?

    Oh. Let me explain. New Zealand has for a long time elected Parliament through a system called MMP. When it was recently decided that it would be a good idea to offer a referendum on continuing MMP to New Zealanders, a clear majority of New Zealanders expressed a preference for MMP over all other electoral systems put together. That was the system under which Ms Mathers was elected. If you don’t believe me, go and check. It’s true, bro!

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  68. Tom Barker (143 comments) says:

    The situation facing Ms Mathers is no different from that of a hypothetical paraplegic MP asking for a wheelchair ramp. It must be provided from parliamentary funding as a human right. Some of the deeply offensive commentators here can squeal and squirm all they like, but that’s what has to happen, and the longer Lockwood Smith takes to admit it, the greater his political damage will be.

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  69. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    Oh. Let me explain. New Zealand has for a long time elected Parliament through a system called MMP.

    Well done Russell, you’ve answered a completely different question all the while coming across like a condescending prat.

    This is my shocked font.

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  70. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    It must be provided from parliamentary funding as a human right.

    Not correct. People with disabilities have to accept that they won’t always have their disability addressed fully, otherwise public transport and buildings, shops, restaurants, workplaces etc – and parliament – would have to be set up to cater for every possible disability. That is simply not feasible.

    I think a real time transcription service should be provided of parliamentary proceedings for all those who could use it, onsite and via broadcast, but it can’t just be done without going through correct procedures.

    But how far should it go? Should all select committees have real time transcription? Should all Green caucus meetings have the same? And all parliamentary meetings that a deaf person may attend?

    Wheelchair access is different, it’s not a personal service. But it could also be problematic. What if a back bencher has to use a wheelchair? Should the house be refitted to cater for that? What if they are prmoted or demoted? Or there’s a change of government? Refit every time?

    What if an MP needs to be on life support?

    “Must do it, now” is unreasonable. Finding reasonable and workable solutions have to be considered through the appropriate channels, but not demanded or used as publicity stunts.

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  71. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    Help me. I took a job that I’m not capable of doing, and I want you to pay to help me to do it.

    Are any paraplegics thinking of getting a job as a taxi driver? Go for it – your boss will be more than happy to stump up for the car alterations. Well – if your employer is the NZ government.

    This woman is going to be a shit politician. She’s incapable, dependent and has a victim-mentality.

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  72. ephemera (557 comments) says:

    @Bevan

    Rhetorical questions beg rhetorical answers.

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  73. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    How can an answer be rhetorical?

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  74. ephemera (557 comments) says:

    @Bevan

    Please do try to keep up in the back.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhetorical_device

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  75. D (3 comments) says:

    Parliamentary Services recorded an extra $2m of expenses in the Operations, Information and Advisory Services area of its last Supplementary Expenses declaration of $7.5m. So how hard is it really for Lockwood to authorize an extra $30k for Mojo?

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