That is patently untrue. Naturally, the Greens would want you to believe that Mojo Mathers will have to dip into her own pocket to pay the staff who provide a note-taking service for her, but that simply isn't true. The cost will come from Ms Mathers' MP support budget (taxpayer-funded) or from the Greens' budget (taxpayer-funded). However this service is paid, Ms Mathers' only contribution will be similar to yours and ours; from our taxes.
At least the print media are telling the whole story; belatedly. Stuff quotes from Lockwood Smith's media conference yesterday:
A row broke out yesterday between the Green Party and Speaker Lockwood Smith after Mathers was told she must pay for electronic note-taking in Parliament out of her own budget.
Mathers, who was elected in November, said the decision was discrimination and would deter people with disabilities from entering Parliament.
However, Smith insisted he was bound by parliamentary process and did not have the authority to provide extra staff time to do the note-taking.
He wants a solution to be found by MPs, rather than asking the taxpayers to stump up more cash.
"Support for members of Parliament is something that's spelt out in the Speaker's directions. It's separately appropriated by Parliament. I can't, under the law, simply say `Oh, forget about that, we'll put a bit of money in from here or there'. It's something I have to consult on."
We sympathise with Lockwood Smith who is, in our ever-humble opinion, the best Speaker in our lifetime. He is being portrayed as an insensitive bully, when all he is doing in reality is following laws which require him to spend public money in accodance with Speaker's directions.
And Smith has fought back; read on:
A meeting of the Parliamentary Service Commission will take place on March 7 and a paper will go to a triennial Appropriations Review which meets this year.
Extra resources provided to rural MPs with extra constituency offices last term was recommended because of their "massive workload", Smith said. That process took 2 1/2 years. "I'm hoping that we can deal with this much more rapidly."
Parliamentary Service was working hard to provide technology and he had asked officials to explore voice recognition software. "That technology is something we are working on right now. That doesn't have to wait for a Parliamentary Service Commission," he said.
Smith also accused Mathers and Green party whip Gareth Hughes of politicising the matter and making public the details of a private meeting.
We have no doubt that the Greens have politicised this issue, and it is no surprise at all that Gareth Hughes is to the fore in that politicisation. Hughes has, after all, got form in the dark art of politicisation, having lambasted the government over the response to the Rena stranding, then going very silent when it was proven that the government's response was actually pretty good in the circumstances. It was Hughes who prophesied widespread ecological catastrophe for the Bay of Plenty which has of course yet to eventuate. Gareth Hughes has also developed a fondness for travelling up and down the land at the taxpayer's expense.
And is it just coincidence that this issue has surfaced publicly on the eve of Ms Mathers' maiden speech to the House today? We think not; the Greens love publicity, and it seems that they are quite happy not to let the facts get in the way of their quest for it. That's not very prinicpled behaviour, is it.