I think all that needs to be said about the Mojo Mathers travel expense has probably been said in the “twitterstorm” yesterday that saw Jordan Williams and David Farrar dig even bigger holes later in the day. Mojo Mathers is not above other MPs because she is deaf. She is neither better or above criticism. If she was raiding the minibar on taxpayer expense I don’t think she would deserve to be let off. But as a deaf MP, I do believe she represents more than the Green constituents. NZers really need to get out of the ‘electorate’ mindset where electorate MPs are seen as superior to others. I don’t want to denegrade the work they do; electorate work is extremely hard and time consuming but an MP like Mojo serves more than just area she is from. She is the first deaf MP we have ever had. It speaks volumes about our nation that you can serve in political office in our country as a person who is deaf but with that she carries the responsibility of highlighting all disability issues. As has been reiterated, if she has to travel to a community radio to give an interview on disability issues not only should she be able to do so but if she didn’t, I’d expect the political fallout to be worse.
Let’s juxtapose what happened this weekend with this little gem of a story on ZB this morning about the royal visit. No doubt that’s going to cause an arm and a leg but do we care about that? Evidently not. This quote from the chair of Monarch New Zealand really struck me about Prince George:
"I think a precedent was set with Prince William himself when he came to New Zealand at almost exactly the same age 37 years ago"
My response? Who cares? No really? Who gives a damn. I am no monarchist and I have very little respect for the institution. Actually I am lying. I have no respect for the institution. But there is no precedent. The Royals are on a PR campaign and if they bring George it will be for PR reasons. The Queen cares a lot about New Zealand? Well if she had any respect for the country she would push for Republicanism. The fact that our head of state is an unelected state dependent beneficiary is disrespectful to us as people.
Let’s go over what happened yesterday:
-Mojo Mathers was doing her job – representing and communicating with her constituents – it’s called DEMOCRACY
-This country is in dire need of education and awareness of disability issues starting perhaps with the folks over at Taxpayer ‘Union’
-Young, privileged, able bodied, white men don’t get to pick and choose issues when they don’t serve their corporate subsidization/welfare needs
-We got a headline “Green MP's 800km taxpayer-funded trip questioned” and no idea who actually posed the initial question and more importantly why?
The reason why I put that Royal story in this article is because remember when John Key went to visit the Queen? How much did that cost? What was the point? Whose interests was he representing? Oh right the Queen invited him and he couldn’t say no because protocol. Well you know what? Screw protocol. More kids are in poverty, more elderly are in poverty, people with disability don’t have the same rights, and we are a low wage economy and who really cares about the Royal visit? I guess that 51% who are obsessed with John Key do... I guess we have to represent their needs.
Jordan Williams said that it’s not worth it for him for Mojo Mathers to "travel to a community radio that probably has as many listeners as you can count on your hand," and that “the only silver lining is that the time spent travelling to go on the station in the middle of nowhere is less time spent dreaming up new ways to spend tax payers money." I’d rather the 5 people get represented by their elected representatives, the 5 people who are unheard, unseen, and unrepresented than the zero people this so called ‘royal visit’ is going to materially help.
[Update] Little Prince George will be coming. I'm sure it'll be great.