Okay, just to recap for those with better things to do: New Zealand elected its first profoundly deaf minister of parliament. Mojo Mathers. Profoundly deaf means that seriously, nothing is going to get through, hearing aids won’t cut it. She is a member of the Green Party, who aren’t exactly flush with cash. Being in a minor party is actually a position of some power and influence in New Zealand (unlike fundamentally broken and corrupt two-party systems), but it’s still no cakewalk.
The controversy has come from the government’s refusal to accommodate her disability in the debating chamber. They have refused to finance the cost of either note-takers or live closed-captioning, and have told her that her party will have to pay the expense out of their own ‘allowance’. The cost of which would apparently consume roughly 100% of that budget.
Yadda yadda etc etc. I’m not the news. Look it up for more details.
I just have one thought on this I’d like to share. The government seem to have their priorities exactly backwards on this. It’s not in Mojo’s best interest that she be able to hear the whining, tedious drivel that goes on in parliament day after day. It’s theirs.
Mojo can communicate just fine. I assume she’s perfectly fluent in written word and sign language, and in fact can speak extraordinarily eloquently for someone who has never in her life heard a human voice. I was stunned when I heard her give her maiden speech. She must have spent, well, her whole life, working on her speaking to get to that point.
So: She’s fine. She can communicate her message to the whole country elegantly and clearly, not to mention sympathetically. How are the other members of parliament going to convince her to vote their way when they need her vote? That’s the point of the debating chamber, after all, convince your opponents of your argument. In her case, I guess they’re just going to have to send her an email.