Funding approved

Adam Bennett in the NZ Herald reports:

Speaker of the House Lockwood Smith had been criticised over his decision not to grant funding for a note-taker for Ms Mathers.

He did not decide not to grant funding. He was not able to do so without going through a formal process, which he has now done.

However this morning he announced permanent funding had been approved by the Parliamentary Service.

The matter was discussed earlier this week by the Parliamentary Service Commission – made up of senior MPs from all parties.

Dr Smith said “having complied with all legal requirements” a final decision regarding funding support for Ms Mathers had been made.

“I am issuing a direction to the Parliamentary Service which will provide the lawful authority to provide equipment and personnel services to Ms Mathers while she is a member of Parliament.

“Specifically, Ms Mathers will continue to have access to electronic note takers while she is an MP. This support will be in addition to that to which she is already entitled, to ensure she may fulfill her role as a member of Parliament. ”

Dr Smith said the cost of the services would be met from the Parliamentary Service’s baseline and was additional to the funding provided to support all members.

This is the correct decision.

Dr Smith went to say he planned to develop a captioning service to make proceedings of the House more accessible to the hearing impaired.

“Services for the business of the House are not subject to the advice of the Parliamentary Service Commission. Consequently, I intend working with the Office of the Clerk to develop this service and will raise this with the Standing Orders Committee which deals with such matters.” 

This is also a good thing.

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