15 February 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
Progress needed for all New Zealanders with disabilities
The debate sparked by the staffing and technical requirements of New Zealand’s first profoundly deaf MP, Mojo Mathers,
highlights the plight of the wider hearing impaired community, says Labour’s Disabilities spokesperson Clare Curran.
“Parliament today marks an historic moment in terms of a more holistic and accurate representation of New Zealand as
Green MP Mojo Mathers gives her Maiden speech.
“However, it also makes plain that before others with disabilities can fully participate in our democratic process much
progress is needed,” Clare Curran said.
“Mojo’s passage into Parliament has been well documented.
“Now, all New Zealanders with a disability can be reassured that their issues have gained renewed salience and scrutiny
as Ms Mathers struggles are heard and resolved,” Clare Curran said.
“Being deaf should not be a barrier to participation in our democracy as a Member of Parliament, nor should it be a
barrier to following parliamentary discussion and debate.
“Services such as the live captioning of the House and the broader use of interpreters should be made a priority
“Labour yesterday expressed its support for Ms Mathers to receive the parliamentary resources required to be able to do
her job effectively, and today we extend that support for disabilities services generally to be expanded for the benefit
of all New Zealanders.
“The hurdles faced by Mojo Mathers, are symptomatic of wider issues relating to the access people with disabilities have
to our democratic processes generally. These issues now have the eyes and ears of government and progress should be made
without delay,” Clare Curran said.