An enabling alternative universe

30 November 2011

Dear Ms Mathers,

I’d like to extend my congratulations to you, and welcome you into your new role as a member of parliament. You will be aware that I have held the Speaker’s role in the last parliament, a role which holds some responsibility in terms of parliamentary funding.

I am of course aware that you will be the first member of New Zealand’s parliament with a hearing impairment, and would like to ascertain whether there is anything you will require in order to make your working environment here in parliament, and your ability to participate as a representative, work smoothly. This may also provide us with an opportunity to consider the many hearing impaired people in New Zealand’s communities who may not always be able to access our democratic debates in progress, and I welcome your input and guidance in this area.

I am aware that if expenditure is required in order to ensure you can participate fully, the Speaker will possibly need to refer this decision to the appropriate committee. Fortunately, we are breaking over the Christmas period for several weeks, so if you were able to make us aware of your needs before this period, it’s my expectation that we should be able to resolve any communication needs in a timely way to ensure in 2012 you will be able to participate fully.

Congratulations once again. I have been a member of parliament for a long time, and it continues to be an honour to represent our New Zealand communities.

Yours sincerely,

Lockwood Smith

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