Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: This Is Not A Complicated Issue

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  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The Speaker is the responsible minister

    Yeah, nah. Technically speaking, the Speaker is not a minister, as he is the head of Parliament, not of the executive arm of government. Huuuuuuge difference, constitutionally. Ministers of the Crown are appointed by the Prime Minister, the Speaker is elected by the House.

    But I agree, he is the responsible party.

    EDIT: Even more technical amendment - Ministers are chosen by the Prime Minister and appointed by the Governor General

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    ust imagine if we were all taught NZSL at primary school – how useful it would be for so many situations.

    Ever read Oliver Sacks' "Seeing Voices"? It is mainly about a New England community that had - maybe still has?- a high proportion of citizens who were/are profoundly deaf. As a matter of course - in order to communicate with their friends & neighbours - the hearing-able learned sign/Ameslan from the time they were wee kids. And I think it would be a brillant idea if matters would move in this way, here...imagine! Most ANZ folk being trilingual! (Nothing wrong with people only being able to* read* a language or 2...)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to nzlemming,

    Yeah, nah. Technically speaking, the Speaker is not a minister, as he is the head of Parliament, not of the executive arm of government.

    I do not doubt you. But I did actually check the parliament.nz website before I typed that:

    The Departmental Forecast Report sets out the financial statements and service output performance levels that have been agreed with the Speaker, who is the Responsible Minister.

    And:

    The Statement of Intent is divided into two sections: the first provides information on the Parliamentary Service's strategic situation and plans for the coming year and beyond while the second section provides financial information and statements of service performance for services as agreed with the Speaker as responsible Minister for Vote Parliamentary Service.

    Etc.

    So you can imagine my confusion ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18884 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Islander,

    As a matter of course – in order to communicate with their friends & neighbours – the hearing-able learned sign/Ameslan from the time they were wee kids. And I think it would be a brillant idea if matters would move in this way, here…

    I've seen two hearing-able people use sign as fast private communication in a crowded room. It was kind of badass.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18884 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Ooer. Yes. I guess each Vote needs someone designated as a Responsible Minister. Learn something everyday.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I saw the same in a noisy bar, where I couldn't hear the person next to me but 2 people yards apart were furiously signing and having a great conversation. Who was the disabled one there? Plus my ears were ringing for a while after we left.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The Speaker is the responsible minister and Lockwood Smith is the minister.

    Yes, I do get that Russell. One might also think when you're a member of body whose sole function is to advise you'd not only do so but be proactive about identifying issues that lie outside your able-bodied male comfort zone. Wasn't exactly a state secret that the Greens were likely to have a profoundly deaf MP in the next Parliament. No, Brownlee and Shearer couldn't call meetings of the PSC. But it seems to me they could easily have reached out to the Greens, identified issues and been stronger advocates than seems to be the case.

    Would Smith have made such a knob of himself if the PSC had been aware of the note-taker issue, taking soundings and advised Mr Speaker there was no opposition to them being funded out of the Clerk's Office appropriation? Who knows, but maybe not.

    You said this:

    When Mojo Mathers was declared an MP, I greeted it as a further step on the way to a Parliament that looked more like New Zealand, in its glorious variety: one day we’d have an MP who was on the autism spectrum, and out about it. That would probably require a different sort of support – perhaps a “quiet room” adjacent to the Chamber, for use at short notice. There might be some cost, or inconvenience, in making that room available. But it would be what we would do.

    Totally agree with you. But if Jimmy or Leo went into politics, I really hope they'd get the support they need without having to go through the same kind of nonsense Mojo Mathers has. To be a Pollyanna for a moment, let's just hope a few pols - not just Smith - have gotten a wake up call about owning their privilege and remembering Parliament is a House of Representatives for everyone not just white upper-middle-class able-bodied straight men.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11992 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Russell Brown,

    No. Smith is the responsible minister. He convenes the meeting.

    Absolutely. He's chair of the PSC, and so calls the meetings. Arguably, given Parliament's failure to appoint new members to the PSC, he's the only person who can call meetings (or maybe not - see schedule 2.1(2) of the Parliamentary Services Act; membership currently does consist of the people specified in s18, but they're outside their time period. Though that would mean that they're inquorate. Argh!)

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1642 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    Could we perhaps start a penny-pinching gone mad meme?

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2107 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Islander,

    imagine! Most ANZ folk being trilingual!

    Now that would be awesome!

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2107 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The 3 News item tonight made Mathers look awesome and Smith like even more of an out-of-touch idiot.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18884 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    From the website of the Office for Disability Issues at www.odi.govt.nz. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is there too.

    One Paragraph after pointing out that individuals have impairments and not disabilities, is probably not the best time to point out that we've confirmed the rights of persons with disabilities :-)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3004 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The 3 News item tonight made Mathers look awesome and Smith like even more of an out-of-touch idiot.

    The three news article headlined "Speaker staunch on deaf MP’s technology funding"? I saw the link somewhere else, and ignored it. An article whose headline is so misleading (the Speaker has said Parliament will separately fund the technology) is unlikely to be enlightening. And on the off-chance the article itself is accurate, how would I know this, and thereby by able to rely on any information in it?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3004 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Now that would be awesome!

    Funny how many people in Europe and Asia manage it as a matter of necessity. When at high school I was drop-dead impressed by an exchange student who was Italian, but her mother was Franco-German. Since neither set of grandparents spoke a word of Italian she also picked up two other languages. And pretty impressive English somewhere along the line, but I'll be damned where she found the time.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11992 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to nzlemming,

    Doctor Where?

    Lockwit has been very definite about his authoritah being respected

    Looking at TV3’s coverage I don’t think Lockwood Smith respected the new MPs' Maiden Speeches enough to even be present – some of the editing gives the impression he is in the chair, but when you see the aerial shot with the woman doing signing on the speaker's left (about 28 seconds in) it ain’t Lockwood nestled into the fleece of power…
    What could have been more important I wonder?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4959 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    And on the off-chance the article itself is accurate, how would I know this, and thereby by able to rely on any information in it?

    This is the first two paragraphs of the accompanying story, which is based on the script for the report:

    New Zealand's first deaf MP, Mojo Mathers, has used her maiden speech in Parliament to take a dig at the speaker, Lockwood Smith.

    She is involved in an argument with him over the money to fund support staff for the electronic note taking she needs to do her job.

    It's important to remember that in news, the person who writes the headline is almost never the person who writes the story.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18884 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Could we perhaps start a penny-pinching gone mad meme?

    Nothing wrong with watching the pennies, but there's such a thing as "penny wise and pound foolish". Perhaps I'm too simple for Wellywood, but it seems a no-brainer that when you give someone a job (and a raft of statutory obligations) you must properly staff and resource them to do it.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11992 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    NZSL used to be taught at night classes in many venues. The cuts to community education funding by the Government three years ago has meant the death of night classes in many cities and regions, and there are hardly any places left offering such accessible NZSL classes. This, together with cuts to educational support for Deaf children, has led to a reduction in the numbers of people wanting to train as qualified NZSL interpreters. Sad. Just imagine if we were all taught NZSL at primary school – how useful it would be for so many situations.

    My wife is an NZSL interpreter, and received her first formal training in NZSL at night school back in the mid-90s. She went on to graduate with a diploma in NZSL Interpreting from AIT, but would not have got there without the initial nightclass instruction.

    And on Sunday she interpreted for a Deaf woman who was speaking with John Key at the Big Gay Out. Nice one Prime Minister - happy to gut adult education, and equally happy to receive the benefits of it as well.

    @Craig: While I agree that Lockwood would be equally crap if Mojo was a National Party MP, I don't think John Key would be sitting on his hands about it either. This is a clear case where we get to see who walks the talk when it comes to concrete action around disability issues.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 455 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Jeanette King,

    Ngā mihi ki a koe, Steve – while Te Reo and NZSL are official languages de jure, English is a de facto official language of NZ – so powerful and ubiquitous it doesn’t need the power of the law to consolidate its position. Tēnā tātou katoa!

    If English is not a de jure official language, then someone will need to tell the Courts, Government and Parliament. We have entered into a number of international agreements (e.g. in respect of applications relating to international abduction of children) in which, for example, legal process must be executed in an official language.

    Are you seriously suggestion, for example, that a parent from overseas with lawful custody of their children, who is illegally taken to New Zealand, can only file the legal papers in New Zealand to get their child back in either Maori or New Zealand Sign Language, or that New Zealand service personnel detained as prisoners of war aren't entitled to a copy of the Geneva Convention in English?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3004 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Pole position...

    I’ve seen two hearing-able people use sign as fast private communication in a crowded room. It was kind of badass.

    And so much easier than semaphore, hard to find flag-waving room in crowds, and I won't even start on the OSH implications...
    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4959 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to nzlemming,

    Ministers are chosen by the Prime Minister and appointed by the Governor General

    You appear to be under the impression that the Prime Minister could not ask the Governor-General to appoint someone else as the Minister responsible for Vote: Parliamentary Service. I am intrigued from where this impression arises.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3004 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Mikaere:

    While I agree that Lockwood would be equally crap if Mojo was a National Party MP, I don’t think John Key would be sitting on his hands about it either.

    Which is an entirely separate point from insinuating that the Speaker of the House acted out of partisan malice towards a non-government MP. "Prime Minister intensely partisan" is neither news nor a constitutional outrage. The Speaker of the House being so is, and isn't a charge to be thrown around lightly whether or not you like the person, the incumbent Government, or the party s/he was elected to Parliament.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11992 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    This is the first two paragraphs of the accompanying story, which is based on the script for the report

    Which I saw after you linked to the video.

    I note however, that the article quotes someone pointing out that the Government has promised that disabled people will be able top perform public function "with the use of assistive and new technologies where appropriate."

    And given that is not in dispute, the decision of the journalist to include it in the story leads me to the concern I already expressed: how can I be sure that any other factual claim about which I don't have knowledge is accurate and will assist me in any way in understanding the situation?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3004 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    Which is an entirely separate point from insinuating that the Speaker of the House acted out of partisan malice towards a non-government MP. “Prime Minister intensely partisan” is neither news nor a constitutional outrage.

    I agree, the Speaker does not appear to be acting in a partisan way at all. However,being disabled isn't partisan per se. If John Key thinks this is a partisan issue, then he is effectively saying that National is not a party for the disabled. Really, is there any other way to read his stance on this ?

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 455 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    The point is that both the NZ Disability Strategy and the UN Convention assume the 'social model' of disability whereby society/politics/law causes disability, rather than the 'individual' or 'medical model' whereby people have broken bits that require fixing.

    Language usage - of disabled person (meaning by society), people with disability or people with disabilities - is something disability studies academics and disability activists argue about, while still speaking the same social model language. I can give you some references to papers about the semantics if you would like.

    @Islander. I read that years ago but must put it on my reread list.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2087 posts Report Reply

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