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Update on accessibility funding for Mojo Mathers

From a Green Party spokesperson

This morning the Green Party has written to the Speaker of the House requesting that he convene the Parliamentary Services Committee meeting as soon as possible to that issues relating to the funding of electronic note taking for Mojo Mathers can be resolved as quickly as possible. The meeting is set down for March 7, and we think the issue needs to be resolved prior to that. A copy of the letter from Metiria Turei to the speaker is below.

We are also in the process of reviewing the Speakers statements on this matter. We do not believe that the funding needs to come from the individual member’s support allocation. The vote allocation for Office of the Clerk (attached) includes allocations for ‘Secretariat Services for the House of Representatives’. Specific measures within this allocation relate to the timeliness and quality of servicing of sittings of the House and Availability, timeliness and quality of Te Reo Māori interpretation and translation services. It is our view that an allocation for electronic note taking for hearing impaired MPs is more appropriately contained in this budget relating to the running of the house, rather than individual MPs support budgets.

We note that the approximately $30,000 required for electronic note taking equates to only 0.17% of that entire budget. The actual expense will be less as there are only a few months remaining in this financial year. We believe that even if this budget ran over, Parliament can make retrospective alterations to it as they have done before. We believe that the Speaker can define the electronic note taking service within this part of the budget.

We also note that in 2008 the sound system in the House was upgraded. The initial installation cost was $994,000. A maintenance contract was let on 15 June 2009 with Bartons Sound Systems Limited for the on-going maintenance of the sound system in the House. The annual budget for this service provision is $20,000 plus variable call out fees. Mojo does not use this service. However hearing MPs are not required to cover this cost of this out of their individual budgets.


Letter to speaker re PSC meeting

Dr The Rt Hon Lockwood Smith
Parliament Buildings
Wellington 6160

Wednesday 15 February

Dear Mr Speaker

I understand that the issue of disability support services for MPs is on the Parliamentary Services Commission agenda. I also understand that you hope to resolve the issues surrounding disability support at that meeting. The meeting is set down for March 7 2012.
As you are aware this is a serious issue with significant public interest and it would be in all our best interests to resolve it as soon as possible.
I respectfully ask that you convene the Parliamentary Services Commission as a matter of urgency so the issue can be resolved. I would ensure that a Green representative was present at the meeting should it be called.
Thank you for your consideration.

Metiria Turei


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