Wednesday 15 February 2012


Much discussion this morning about the MP with the coolest name in Parliament, Mojo Mathers, and whether you or I should pay for an electronic note-taking system so the new Green MP can do her job.

She’s deaf, you see, and can’t do the job properly without one. It will cost us around $30,000, apparently—about the size of Bellamy’s bar bill on a slow afternoon.

So fair enough, surely. It’s a small enough sum; it can be taken out of the existing Parliamentary Budget without any problems; and this is supposed to be a representative democracy, surely, and when folk from all walks of life are in Parliament their democracy should provide whatever’s need to do their job, no?

No. Not really. Not exactly.

Because Speaker Lockwood Smith is reportedly examining whether to impose a new  obligation on taxpayers, rather than spending less elsewhere. Like subsiding Bellamy’s, for instance.  (Bad Lockwood.)

And yes, it’s a small sum.  But even a small sum has to be authorised; has to be taken from someone.  And there is nothing in law to justify a new imposition like this. (Laws about subsidising the trough at Bellamy’s on the other hand…)

And fundamentally, small though the sum involved is, the argument about spending it goes back to the nature of government and of parliament ,and and what they’re there for. 

Government’s job is not to raise the self-esteem of its participants—its job is to protect individual rights. That’s their only justifiable job.

So Parliament’s job, in this sense, is not simply to be a club wherein participants are made to feel better about themselves. It’s not a place where you go to raise your self-esteem. It is instead an arm of government (at least in principle if not in practice) that helps keep the other arms somewhat in check—to ensure they are protecting individual rights.

And frankly, then as long as taxpayers continue to vote people in to do that job (at least in theory) it doesn’t matter whether you’re deaf, dumb, blind or transgender. If you’ve been voted in to do the job by taxpayers (and even some Green voters do pay taxes)  then you should have the tools to do that job.

After all, there’s extra reinforcing needed for Parekura Horomia’s seat. And we’re obliged to pay for that, aren’t we?

Aren’t we?

* * * * *

* Paid for by those taxpayers who voted for them, ideally.


twr said...

This smells like one of the Greens' usual "stunts" that they pull to get attention. They knew full well when they put Mojo up as a candidate that they were only doing so to cause trouble and expense for others.

Anonymous said...

This political stunt does the Greens and Mojo, in particular, no favours. If they had quietly coughed up for the required gear from the beginning Mojo would have, more likely, just got on with the job without becoming a "circus freak" with all eyes now on her disability. Mojo seems a clever enough woman but is clearly as politically stupid as her party.

Kiwiwit said...

I think New Zealand First got it partly right in their press statement when they said she was the first "profoundly dead" MP in Parliament. I say partly right because the quality of profound mortality (at least in a moral sense) actually applies to most of the members of Parliament.

Dirty Mind said...

People, Mojo is not disabled. A disabled person can't have sex, because his/her body can't hump. Mojo has children, that means that she can hump really well, with sign of disability at all.

the drunken watchman said...

you could add a few more...

a Trappist monk,a claustrophobe, some illiterates, a few deaf dumb and blind front benchers, a few schizophrenics and sociopaths, the bed-bound terminally ill...even someone stark raving barking mad would be kind of fun to have around..

none of whom should be denied the tools to do the job, right?

Julian said...

If Mojo and the Greens wanted to make things more difficult than they already are for the disabled people, then they have have just achieved precisely this.

Employers have been made very aware that employing a disabled person may entail public ridicule and excessive costs. They are therefore less likely to give these people a break in life.

Disabled people, (and I know this as my brother is disabled), do not need to be pandered to. They want to be treated like every other person.

This whole episode is a real tragedy.


Hal Incandenza said...

"They knew full well when they put Mojo up as a candidate that they were only doing so to cause trouble and expense for others."

Fuck me. This is why the Libbos are such pathetic losers in the battle for hearts and minds. This site attracts its share of bell ends (Julian, Dirty Mind, Hubbard et al) but congratulations chief, you win! No wonder you have to resort to threats of violence if that's the best you can produce.