Mojo Mathers

Last updated

Mojo Mathers

Mojo Mathers.jpg
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Green party list
In office
10 December 2011 (2011-12-10) 23 September 2017 (2017-09-23)
Personal details
Born
Mojo Celeste Minrod

(1966-11-23) 23 November 1966 (age 52)
London, United Kingdom
NationalityNew Zealand
Political party Green
Relations H. L. A. Hart (grandfather)

Mojo Celeste Mathers MNZM (née Minrod, born 23 November 1966) is a New Zealand politician and a former member of the New Zealand House of Representatives. She became known through her involvement with the Malvern Hills Protection Society and helped prevent the Central Plains Water Trust's proposal to build a large irrigation dam in Coalgate. She has been a senior policy advisor to the Green Party since 2006 and has stood for the party in the last three general elections. Her candidacy for the 2011 election created significant media interest due to her high placing on the Green Party's list. Mathers was elected to the 50th term of Parliament, becoming the country's first deaf Member of Parliament. [1]

New Zealand House of Representatives Sole chamber of New Zealand Parliament

The New Zealand House of Representatives is a component of the New Zealand Parliament, along with the Sovereign. The House passes all laws, provides ministers to form a Cabinet, and supervises the work of the Government. It is also responsible for adopting the state's budgets and approving the state's accounts.

The Malvern Hills Protection Society (MHPS) is a grassroots environmental group seeking to prevent the construction of a new dam in the Canterbury region of New Zealand.

Central Plains Water

Central Plains Water, or, more fully, the Central Plains Water Enhancement Scheme, is a large-scale proposal for water diversion, damming, reticulation and irrigation for the Central Plains of Canterbury, New Zealand. Construction started on the scheme in 2014.

Contents

Private life

Mathers was born in London, UK in 1966. [2] Her parents named her after the Muddy Waters' 1957 version of the song "Got My Mojo Working". [3] She herself has three children. [3] In her personal life, she "strive[s] to reduce [her] personal impact on the environment by being vegetarian, supporting GE free, non-toxic, organic, fair trade and local, [and] using public transport". [2]

Muddy Waters American blues singer and guitarist

McKinley Morganfield, known professionally as Muddy Waters, was an American blues singer-songwriter and musician who is often cited as the "father of modern Chicago blues", and an important figure on the post-war blues scene.

Got My Mojo Working 1957 single by Ann Cole

"Got My Mojo Working" is a blues song written by Preston "Red" Foster and first recorded by Ann Cole in 1956. Muddy Waters popularized it in 1957 and the song was a feature of his performances throughout his career. A mojo is an amulet or talisman associated with hoodoo, an early African-American folk-magic belief system. Rolling Stone magazine included Waters' rendition of the song on its list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time at number 359. In 1999, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences gave it a Grammy Hall of Fame Award and it is identified on the list of "Songs of the Century".

Environmental vegetarianism

Environmental vegetarianism is the practice of vegetarianism when motivated by the desire to not contribute to the negative environmental impact of meat production. Livestock as a whole is estimated to be responsible for around 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, significant reduction in meat consumption has been advocated by, among others, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and as part of the 2017 World Scientists' Warning to Humanity.

Mathers "was born profoundly deaf after oxygen was cut to her as newborn baby during a difficult birth". She is not, however, mute, and is a lipreader. She only began to make significant use of Sign Language in the late 2000s (saying she had "found it very useful for some situations"), preferring to lipread and communicate orally before that. [3] [4]

Lip reading, also known as lipreading or speechreading, is a technique of understanding speech by visually interpreting the movements of the lips, face and tongue when normal sound is not available. It relies also on information provided by the context, knowledge of the language, and any residual hearing. Although ostensibly used by deaf and hard-of-hearing people, most people with normal hearing process some speech information from sight of the moving mouth.

New Zealand Sign Language or NZSL is the main language of the deaf community in New Zealand. It became an official language of New Zealand in April 2006 under the New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006. The purpose of the act was to create rights and obligations in the use of NZSL throughout the legal system and to ensure that the deaf community had the same access to government information and services as everybody else. According to the 2013 Census, over 20,000 New Zealanders speak NZSL.

Her grandfather was the legal philosopher H. L. A. Hart. [5]

H. L. A. Hart 1907–1992; British legal philosopher

Herbert Lionel Adolphus Hart, FBA, usually cited as H. L. A. Hart, was a British legal philosopher, and a major figure in political and legal philosophy. He was Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford University and the Principal of Brasenose College, Oxford. His most famous work is The Concept of Law, which has been hailed as "the most important work of legal philosophy written in the twentieth century". He is considered one of the world's foremost legal philosophers in the twentieth century, alongside Hans Kelsen.

Professional life

Mathers has an Honours degree in Mathematics and a master's degree in Conservation Forestry. [2] She has applied her environmental ethos to her work, being the joint owner of a "small business offering forestry management services" from 2001 to 2006. [2] She has been a senior policy advisor to the Green Party since 2006. [2]

The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand is a left-wing political party in New Zealand. Like many Green parties around the world it has four organisational pillars: ecology, social responsibility, grassroots democracy, and nonviolence. It also accepts Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand and recognises Māori as Tangata Whenua.

Political career

Her interest in political environmentalism began when she settled in Coalgate, a village in Canterbury region in New Zealand. She became spokeswoman for the local community's opposition to the building of a large dam, proposed by the Central Plains Water Trust as part of a broader project to "convert the local area into intensive dairy farming". She was a founding member of the Malvern Hills Protection Society which "managed to stop the dam being built". [2] [3]

Coalgate, New Zealand human settlement in New Zealand

Coalgate is a locality in the Selwyn District of the Canterbury region of New Zealand's South Island. The 2001 New Zealand census gave Coalgate's population as 276, and it is located roughly an hour west of Christchurch on State Highway 77. The town's name stems from it being the "gateway" to the lignite coal fields around Whitecliffs, the Rakaia Gorge, and Acheron River. Coal mining declined in the 20th century and has now ceased, but since the 1950s, commercial processing of nontronite has taken place in Coalgate.

Canterbury, New Zealand Region of New Zealand in South Island

Canterbury is a region of New Zealand, located in the central-eastern South Island. The region covers an area of 44,508 square kilometres (17,185 sq mi), and is home to a population of 624,000.

Mathers first stood for Parliament in the 2005 election in the Rakaia electorate, when she was ranked 16th on the Green Party list, [6] winning 1,631 votes. [7] In 2008 she was ranked 13th [8] and contested Christchurch East, winning 1,843 votes. [9] On neither occasion was she elected.

New Zealand Parliament
YearsTermElectorateListParty
2011 2014 50th List 14 Green
2014 2017 51st List9 Green

At the 2011 general election, she was number 14 on the list, [10] and stood again in Christchurch East. She finished third in her constituency, with 4.5% of the electorate vote, [11] but her main hopes had lain with being elected as a list MP. Indeed, opinion polls just prior to the election had indicated that the Greens could hope for up to fifteen MPs, and The Press reported that Mathers was "poised to become New Zealand's first deaf MP". Mathers noted that, if she were elected, she would need "some sort of laptop or screen coming directly to me at the desk" in Parliament, along with a sign language interpreter. She suggested that "having sign language in Parliament" might help "enable the wider deaf community to access political debate". New Zealand Sign Language is already an official language of New Zealand but, unlike English and Māori, it was not represented in Parliament. [3] The preliminary election night vote counts gave the Green Party only 13 seats, but when official counts were released on 10 December 2011, they had obtained sufficient special votes to gain another seat, meaning that Mathers was elected into Parliament. [1] [12]

Mathers had previously made submissions to Parliament on bills, opposing clauses of the Resource Management (Simplifying and Streamlining) Amendment Bill 2009 and arguing for the "setting of minimum environmental standards" across the country. [13] She also wrote in opposition to the Climate Change Response (Moderated Emissions Trading) Amendment Bill 2009, arguing it "would substantially weaken the existing emissions trading scheme, reducing incentives to reduce emissions while providing large ongoing subsidies to climate polluters at enormous cost to the taxpayer". [14]

Mathers describes her areas of policy interest as "rural issues, biodiversity, forestry and water, as well as animal welfare, disability and women's rights". [2]

As an MP, Mathers was provided, after some delay, with an electronic note-keeping assistant. Speaker Lockwood Smith also said he "planned to develop a captioning service to make proceedings of the House more accessible to the hearing impaired" among the general public. [15]

She lost her seat in the September 2017 general election. [16]

Honours

Mathers (left) in 2019, after her investiture as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit by the governor-general, Dame Patsy Reddy Mojo Mathers MNZM investiture.jpg
Mathers (left) in 2019, after her investiture as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit by the governor-general, Dame Patsy Reddy

In the 2019 New Year Honours, Mathers was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to people with disabilities. [17]

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References

  1. 1 2 "First deaf MP to join Parliament", New Zealand Herald, 10 December 2011
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Mojo Mathers". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Danya Levy (23 November 2011). "Mojo Mathers set to be New Zealand's first deaf MP". Stuff. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  4. "Mojo Mathers – Generation Zero's Elect Who?", Generation Zero, 10 November 2011
  5. "How got Mojo Mathers got her name". The Dominion Post . 19 February 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  6. "2005 Election: Party Lists of Successful Registered Parties". New Zealand Electoral Commission. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  7. "2005 Election: Official Count Results – Rakaia". New Zealand Electoral Commission. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  8. "2008 Election: Party Lists of Successful Registered Parties". New Zealand Electoral Commission. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  9. "2008 Election: Official Count Results – Christchurch East". New Zealand Electoral Commission. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  10. "2011 election candidates". Green Party. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  11. "Christchurch East Electorate – Election 2011", New Zealand Herald
  12. "Greens 'ecstatic' to have 14 MPs", TVNZ, 10 December 2011
  13. "Resource Management (Simplifying and Streamlining) Amendment Bill: Submission by Mojo Mathers", Parliament of New Zealand
  14. "Climate Change Response (Moderated Emissions Trading) Amendment Bill: Submission by Mojo Mathers", Parliament of New Zealand
  15. "Mojo Mathers' funding approved", New Zealand Herald, 9 March 2012
  16. "'I know I made a difference' Mojo Mathers says as she's ousted from Parliament", Stuff.co.nz, 24 September 2017
  17. "New Year honours list 2019". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2019.