I see that Ms Mojo Mathers has made it into parliament on the Green list. She is profoundly deaf since birth. I have nothing but admiration for people with a significant disability who get on with life and achieve some measure of success.
I have also nothing but contempt for those who seem to think that deaf people are either stupid or not worth their time. Interacting with the deaf can certainly be a little more time-consuming. I know a GP who is profoundly deaf. She uses a special computerized stethoscope to listen to heart and lung sounds, which is probably considerably more accurate than the cheaper manual one. Referrals from her to the hospital I worked at were done via “relay” – a transcriber would type out my questions to her and she would answer. It worked perfectly well and was less time consuming than an interpreted call for patients who speak a foreign language.
There has been some silly comments in the blogosphere about what changes have to be made to accommodate Ms. Mathers, and how much they may cost. I suspect very little, as it should be simple to connect her directly to the Hansard as it is transcribed (I presume it is transcribed directly rather than simply recorded).
Be that as it may, the cost and possible inconvenience of this is utterly immaterial. However much I would probably disagree with Ms. Mathers politically, one thing is abundantly clear; Mojo Mathers is a human being whose opinion is worth listening to and who can make a worthwhile contribution to politics and to New Zealand. The trivial amount of time and money required to assist her in her communication needs is completely insignificant compared to this fact.