Saturday, February 18, 2012

"Absolutely Gobsmacked"

The first person to earn a doctorate in Deaf education in New Zealand says she is "absolutely gobsmacked" over her government's refusal to provide a note taker for the nation's first deaf member of Parliament, Mojo Mathers. The Otago Daily Times quotes Dr. Denise Powell of Dunedin as saying New Zealand is risking a violation of United Nations agreement on the rights of the disabled it ratified in 2008. Advocates of the deaf in Australia and Europe are already writing to show their concern. The Parliamentary Services expects Mathers to pay the $30,000 cost of a full-time note taker herself. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, passed by New Zealand, upheld the rights of disabled people to hold political office and carry out all the functions of government, using "assistive and new technologies."