Technology essential for democratic debate

Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party

News that New Zealand’s first deaf MP has been told that she will have to pay for technology that will allow her to fully participate in Parliament is totally unacceptable, Labour’s Disability spokesperson Clare Curran says.
Clare
CURRAN
Disabilities Spokesperson
14 February 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
Technology essential for democratic debate
News that New Zealand’s first deaf MP has been told that she will have to pay for technology that will allow her to fully participate in Parliament is totally unacceptable, Labour’s Disability spokesperson Clare Curran says.

“We are calling on the Speaker to immediately fund the equipment that Mojo Mathers requires to participate in parliamentary debate.

“Mojo has apparently been informed that while Parliamentary Services could accommodate those with ‘physical difficulties’ she must pay for the electronic note-taking equipment that she needs to take part in debates,” Clare Curran said.

“Being deaf should not be a barrier to participating in a modern democracy. Mojo was democratically elected. She deserves all the support required to be an active and effective Member of Parliament.

“It is being reported Dr Smith requires the approval of the Parliamentary Service Commission to fund this equipment. If that is the case Labour supports a speedy resolution.

“The technology improvements, including on-screen captioning of debates, will not only help Mojo but will also make parliamentary broadcasts more accessible to the hearing impaired community.

“This is a human rights issue. Mojo Mathers has a right to the technology that can allow her to participate. It must be provided right away,” Clare Curran said.
ENDS

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