Mojo Mather’s Rights

Speaker Smith makes access a charity issue

Kapiti’s Green list MP Jan Logie has written a special report for KIN on the furore surrounding Speaker Lockwood Smith’s refusal to help Mojo Mathers. Here’s her story –

MP with Mojo to help disabled

By Green MP Jan Logie, of Paekakariki


Mojo Mathers, the 14th Green Party MP is an intelligent, articulate advocate for people with disabilities, the environment and animals.

She has been involved in the party and politics for many years. She also happens to be profoundly deaf.

‘I have loved working with Mojo

As another new Green MP I have loved working with Mojo, she often offers very sharp and insightful contributions to our shared deliberations. I also have respect for all her years of advocacy and the knowledge that comes with this. I must also say that I’m proud to be part of a party that can see that.

We are willing to adapt the ways we work because we recognise all too often our ways of working have been set up to support those with hearing, sight, physical mobility and an ability to argue and brag.

Systems are not inherent they are created and they can enable or disable people. The Green party doesn’t want to disable anyone.

The House has been set up and significant financial investment has been made to support people with hearing. This gives those of us with hearing access to participate freely in the working of the House.

Speaker fails to get point

Yet somehow the Speaker of the House doesn’t seem to grasp that the House has a similar duty to provide appropriate resources for people with hearing impairments or the profoundly deaf.

The Speaker has said that funding for note takers to enable Mojo to follow debate in the House and select committees should either be funded out of Mojo’s own staff entitlements or that Mojo should accept the offers of financial contributions from other parties.

At one stage there was even the suggestion that Mojo should apply to Workbridge for funding. This is treating Mojo as if she has the problem and should fix it herself or be grateful for the charity of others.

Parliament has resources and the participation of every member in the House is part of our democratic process.

Effectiveness would be compromised

If  Mojo pays out of her own support budget she would not be able to do any of the other things that the rest of us do with that allocation. Her effectiveness would be severely compromised. To take money from other parties would be to leave the disabling role of Parliament and the Speaker unchallenged. I certainly don’t think that’s what the disability community would want in their first ‘out’ representative.

I think Mojo has a lot to offer Parliament and I think we all deserve to get the value of her participation.

Mojo said it best

I think Mojo probably said it best in her Maiden speech last night:

“My election on the Green Party list under MMP means that hearing impaired, Deaf and people with disabilities have representation in Parliament by someone who shares with them many of the same experiences and challenges that they face.

Mr Speaker, I made the point yesterday that funding for electronic notetakers and equipment should not be coming out of my support budget, which all members receive, because no MP with a disability should be expected to fund their participation in the house in this way.

To put the cost in context, a few years ago, Parliament spent nearly $1m upgrading the audio system in the chamber so that MPs could hear better.

I am hopeful that Parliament will show leadership in this area and move quickly to resolve this, so that I can get on with the work that I was elected to do.”




Mojo Mather’s problem is actually a Green Party problem. She is a list MP and was not elected by the people. She was appointed by the Green Party (To which I gave both votes.) It is a Party problem. It is possible she would not have been elected had she chosen to stand for an electorate seat. It is also debateable as to whether or not she will have any beneficial effect on citizens with disability. Hopefully the changes to MMP format will sort this out in due course.

Thanks for your post, Robert. You raise some very legitimate issues about the massive challenges we face from runaway climate change and the end of cheap oil. The Green Party has a cohesive response to these challenges of which, our policy on KiwiSaver is but a small part of. We can have a country with a smart economy that protects our natural capital and shares our prosperity more fairly. Our cohesive vision for a sustainable economy can be found here in our Green Jobs Promise.

In relation to KiwiSaver specifically, we’ve gone on the record many times over issues relating to ethical investment. Our pressure has successfully resulted in the New Zealand Superannuation Fund divesting from tobacco manufacturers and nuclear weapons producers, and we continue to pressure the Fund to divest from companies causing severe environmental damage or companies that fund climate change spin.

Jan good to see you are still associated with KIN.
I wonder if you managed to read the question I put to you last year ?

Hear it is again
Sorry for the double post, but Jan, ignoring the facts does not make them go away, please answer the question.
I’m still waiting on a reply from Jan to my question about Kiwi Saver (KS), I will try and sum it all up again.
First Russell Norman is using a 25 year old KS as his example of how much they will save on KS fees over the life of the KS account, something like $60,000 . Which sounds great, if not for the 25 year old at least for political spin.
So it seems Russell (and therefore the Green Party) are very happy promoting KS. The voted it in after all.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) (which the government says is a reputable organisation) is stating in its 2011 Energy Outlook – that at best, even if 7 countries (whoever they are?) start to take drastic steps to reduce CO2 emissions, and we maintain the sort of economic structures that KS is 100% dependent on, then the planet faces a temperature rise of no less than 3.5 degrees above pre-industrial by as soon as 2035.
But lets pretend they are out, lets say the 3.5 doesn’t kick in until the 25 year old retires (@67), that would be 2053.
Even then if we are hitting that sort of temperature rise the 25 year old (along with the rest of the mammals on the planet) will be long gone before he retires.
To maintain Kiwi Saver and have it pay out a profit the system must keep growing, that means more roads, more deep sea oil, more ships travelling around NZ hitting rocks, MORE CO2.
So in a nut shell the Green Party are promoting the destruction of the very thing they were ‘created’ for, specificity to promote a healthy environment for future generations.
So Jan again how do these 2 actions relate to each other, how can you promote the destruction of the environment and the saving of the environment in the same breath.
As Derek Jensen says “We can’t live on the planet while destroying it”
I would like to think some of the Green Party politicians might have read the October 2010 report from Parliamentary support which states the world passed peak oil extraction back in 2005 – 2006 and that the economic ramifications are going to bite even more than they did when oil hit $147.00 a barrel …… by as soon as 2012, which is supported by the German Military, the CIA, and the IEA, also the US Department of Energy.
This is the New Zealand Parliamentary report
The first reference ,
which is the Hirsch Report this is maybe easer to download as not a PDF.
Robert Hirsch stated that to mitigate the issue of global peak oil the world needed to move at WW2 industrial speed at least 15 years before the event, if we were to maintain life as we know it, i.e. driving to the supermarket, owning a car, having our retirement funds earning enough to mature in the black, etc. Clearly we are now over 20 years behind starting our preparations, this dose not bode well for future retires.
One of the first recommendations from all the reports, discussion groups, etc that I have read over the past 12 years is that we need to educate the masses, so the global governments can introduce austerity measures to wean us off fossil fuels, alas the Green Party are promoting the opposite, – “Keep paying into this retirement plan and all will be good for you”, when clearly this is a lie.