9 Mar 2012

No final decision yet on deaf MP funding

8:51 am on 9 March 2012

Parliament's Speaker will continue to pay for the necessary technology to assist profoundly deaf Green MP Mojo Mathers in the House for now.

The Green Party has been in dispute with Speaker Lockwood Smith about whether Parliament or the party should pay for the services Ms Mathers needs in order to follow what is happening in the debating chamber.


On Wednesday, Dr Smith called a meeting of the Parliamentary Service Commission to sort out the situation.

When he emerged from he told reporters that Ms Mathers has the support she needs to function at the moment, because he is paying for it out of his own budget.

But he says that is just a temporary solution, and the Parliamentary Service Commission still has to work through some issues before it makes a final funding decision.

The Parliamentary Service Commission says it can pay for the necessary technology to assist Ms Mathers in the House, but not the $20,000 - $30,000 needed for two note-takers.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says it is not about funding for an individual Member of Parliament, but the general accessibility of Parliament.

The Greens have legal advice that funding can come from the Office of the Clerk's budget and say Dr Smith should call a meeting of the Standing Orders Committee to make that happen.

The party is vowing to keep fighting to ensure MPs with disabilities are accommodated at Parliament.