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Key should discipline Quinn for laughing at girl

9 August 2009 Media Statement

Key should discipline Quinn for laughing at girl who has cerebral palsy

The MP for Waimakariri Clayton Cosgrove has called on Prime Minister John Key to discipline National MP Paul Quinn for laughing at the plight of 12-year-old Kaiapoi school student Brittany Graham who has cerebral palsy.

“I was absolutely horrified in Parliament last week during the general debate when Paul Quinn shouted out ‘ha, ha’ while my colleague Ruth Dyson was saying that Brittany might not be well enough to continue going to school when the Government cuts out special needs funding for kids.”

Clayton Cosgrove said he had become accustomed to Education Minister Anne Tolley minimising the impact of the planned cuts on the most vulnerable children, “but for Paul Quinn to laugh blatantly at the plight of Brittany and her family was simply inexcusable.

“Anne Tolley won’t front up to the family. Perhaps John Key will be prepared to explain his Government’s policy personally to the family. And he should insist that Paul Quinn accompanies him to explain why he thinks Brittany’s case is so funny.

“What Paul Quinn did was, quite frankly, disgusting. This is a girl who, after 10 years of therapy, can now stand for the first time using a ladder. Her mother tells me she believes that continued therapy will allow her daughter to be toilet-trained,” Clayton Cosgrove said.

“Ha, ha, says Paul Quinn. That’s his reaction to therapy being taken away from Brittany and other children with critically high needs who need special therapy every day.”

“As I said last week, Brittany is a poster girl for human spirit and courage, but National’s just sees her as a number, if they think about her at all. The funding cut is shameful and heartless.”

Clayton Cosgrove said Labour would continue to campaign for the $2.5 million special therapy funding to be continued nationally. “It is inhumane and callous to cut it off. Paul Quinn’s laughter says it all. John Key has a chance to repair the damage. He must do it now.”


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