An update on the action in Geneva. Several of those at the meeting last Thursday described in this post are now there arguing the case for more work to be done in NZ on implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This report from the Human Rights Commission
I was there last Thursday. Mojo was on target, and Labour's Chris Faafoi was also. As for the others at least they showed up, but I can't say much else for their understanding of disability issues or their policies.
I have a vivid memory of the performance from the NZ First man-like a possum in the glare of the headlights (yikes, these people have opinions, and are well informed). He shouldn't have been quite so surprised really given that there is a natural overlap.NZ First's base constituency is older people We all age, and as we age the incidence of impairment zooms up. Many older people get antsy and harrumph they are "not disabled", but they're clinging onto last millennium concepts and actually although they readily understand, and complain about discrimination and inequality which is the way most of us understand disability. So why, oh why is NZ First doing such an incredibly poor job with disability policy? Every single party needs for all of their candidates to show disability competence- it cannot be just left to their disability spokesperson. Kris Faafoi made a pretty decent fist of it. The woman from Mana showed a refreshing understanding of human rights and principles and how they could apply to disability issues The National man was not only poorly prepared, but also most injudicious with his responses. Shockingly poor really. He showed no understanding of disability issues, but even worse, seemed to think he did. So what did the meeting show us? I am inclined to say little change yet. But there are more disability issues meetings. We are all giving those who would be our elected representatives a good staunch interrogation. Campaigns like 20% are making inroads. And in the lead-up to next elections, we must all ceaselessly chivvy/encourage/lead them to paths of righteousness. Kudos to all of those already in there and doing it. We're the country's largest minority and this meeting showed us we deserve better from the political parties.
Good summary WaterDragon. I didn't want to be too mean about the National man but you would have expected someone a little more senior or knowledgeable - even a Minister - considering the impact of their polices on this population. He infuriated a parent who tried to ask him a question about early intervention as he rushed off rather than engaging.
Many older people get antsy and harrumph they are “not disabled”, but they’re clinging onto last millennium concepts
They are reflecting widespread stereotypes that disabled = undesirable, weak, unworthy. We need to tackle those more effectively than we have been, including public investment.
I chose to vote early this time, as a booth is near where I live, and as this is now possible for all who wish to do so. Looking at the disability policies of various parties, there are some that offer comprehensive policies and goals, and others that hardly mention any policy for disabled.
Although I feel that even the Greens could still do a bit more in the area, I was satisfied with their policies on offer, in the disability area and in other important areas. So I voted accordingly, with the party vote.
Let us hope that the polls are wrong, due to the over reliance on landlines, and that we will have a true change of government after 20 September, as I cannot bear seeing another 3 years of the mediocre to bad delivery by a National led government. Tariana Turia may have good intentions and done some good work, but overall, much has been missing, as otherwise Acclaim Otago and other disability representatives would not have to go to the UN to raise their concerns.
Change is due, overdue, let us keep our fingers crossed, and all others, please make sure you vote, according to what you consider as good, necessary and beneficial for your country.
And do not forget, what Bennett has forced WINZ to do, which also affects disabled. There may be much talk about "support", "help" and empowering sick and disabled, to "free" them from benefit dependence, but what is actually being done, that is too often a totally different story:
Work and Income’s Principal Health Advisor Dr Bratt sets the tone with the disqualifying measures for sick, injured and impaired:
(see pages 13, 20, 21 and 35, where he likens benefit dependence with “drug dependence”)
Which he then denied. And then he had to leave.
Well that's an unfortunate turn of events.
I'm surprised this thread doesn't have more views, If anything is going to confirm/ inform assumptions about the deeper ethical principles of a political party it's how they propose to assist those in need beyond mere economic considerations, so thanks for this.
"The meeting started badly when Te Ururoa Flavell stated that the Māori party wants to repeal the NZ Public Health and Disability Amendment Act No 2 – the bill that was passed under urgency following the 2013 Budget and which denies the paid care option to many family members, and even worse removes any avenue for challenge under human rights legislation. Repeal is a popular policy – except that his Party voted for it and helped it pass. Which he then denied. And then he had to leave."
From left field here (where else?)....I wonder if, under some arcane Rule of the House, that if the majority of a particular Party's sitting members deny that they voted a particular way on a certain piece of legislation....then their votes are declared null and void?
Yes, weird; but it seems truly bizzarre to me that both Flavell and Turia are under the mistaken impression that they voted AGAINST the PHDAct ammendment.
Good piece Hilary...
We made the effort to attend a similar 'do' in Kaitaia, organised and run by an enthusiastic and competent Taiaho Trust.
Torrential rain. Truly a challenge for the mobility impaired to attend, but they did.
Only two candidates bothered to show. The Green candidate, and a guy from the Maori Party who was obivious winging it.
We do not watch telly while on the road (as we have been for the past six weeks or so) ...but did catch in passing that Catherine Delahunty and Ruth Dyson had a go about the PHDAct....too little too late guys.
It is all "screwed" now anyway, I am sorry to say, as John Key and the Nats have got enough seats to do whatever they want to do, or not bother to do. We are indeed all "screwed" now, those that hoped for and cared for some improvements for disabled in this society. Even Bennett is going to leave social security, as it must be a too "hot potato" for her now. We will be managed by second rate idiots running ACC, WINZ, health and disability services, and little improvements are to be expected.
As for the Maori Party, they may now make whatever "agreement" with Key, they have NO CLOUT, are irrelevant, even as that idiot from ACT is totally irrelevant, the school boy, wannabe MP.
This election has dealt a serious blow to us, I am dismayed, and very, very angry, that the "opposition" did not get their crap together to get the message across. But then again, out there, people are more bothered with money in their pockets and to spend on whatever frivolous consumer goods. They do not want to, and will refuse to, pay more levies and taxes that would have been needed for some better services.
Selfishness rules, division, mistrust, me, me and endless more me, that is for the fit hand healthy, stuff the rest.
both Flavell and Turia are under the mistaken impression that they voted AGAINST the PHDAct ammendment.
They are. I wonder if the votes they registered match those recorded in their names. I had put the Maori party's assent to the bill down to the way it was bundled with the budget, to which the Maori party was required to assent as part of its agreement with National. I think the bundling was scurrilous, an abuse of the partner agreement, done only to get it through. The matter becomes worse if the MPs did vote against the Act but their votes were changed without their knowledge.
Even Bennett is going to leave social security, as it must be a too “hot potato” for her now.
Hmmm…..from left field again….
Bennett did such an awesome job of whipping us beneficiaries into shape. Her staunch stance against we lazy bludgers has created the perfect environment and culture…going forward…as they say.
We KNOW an enquiry, or god forbid, a complaint, will risk public humiliation …or worse…a ‘review’. We know about the ‘kick them when they’re down’ philosophy.
Some of us are cowed. Some of us engage with WINZ in automatic defensive mode. Others….with a tenuous hold on their sanity …have reacted with extreme violence. Only Sue Bradford had the guts to publicly put THAT one in its true context.
Just think what Paula could do with Health…and it’s unwanted offspring… Disability.
ACC…is fat for the selling, Marc….Key will claim he has a mandate….
As for the opposition parties failing to get their collective shit together…forgive me…but I knda told you so a couple of months back.
Speaking with true blue National voters…( the few who actually admitted to it!!!) in the Far North, and more recently on the East Coast….most were horrified when we explained exactly what National had done on the 17th May 2013.
All most knew was this…
Not the truth, which was this.
Oooops..the pdf should be on the bottom of the text....
Quote: "We KNOW an enquiry, or god forbid, a complaint, will risk public humiliation …or worse…a ‘review’. We know about the ‘kick them when they’re down’ philosophy.
Some of us are cowed. Some of us engage with WINZ in automatic defensive mode. Others….with a tenuous hold on their sanity …have reacted with extreme violence. Only Sue Bradford had the guts to publicly put THAT one in its true context."
Yes, for many that may be so, but there are still a few others besides of Sue Bradford, who dare to take a stand, who hold WINZ to account, and it is KNOWLEDGE that is power. Sadly most out there have too short attention spans these days, and are a bit too complacent, and do not inform themselves, even if they have the ability to understand complex matters. Much activity may be found on the web, on blogs, in regards to entertainment, MSM media, in gaming, in Facebook and Twitter messaging, but that is not all, there are certainly more important things to read and see.
I can only encourage people to inform themselves more thoroughly about what the last welfare reforms were all about, and also what had been done to ACC even before that, which was later introduced as a new approach by WINZ:
And here some good advice to those facing a potential WINZ "hatchet doctor":
As for disabled and their carers, a lot will need to be done and needs to happen, and it will be down to us few activists, to lead the fight, as there is too little reliance on the MPs that will sit in the nice green chairs in Parliament again. Some should not be there in the first place, when their priority is to compete for positions and to fight sideshow battles about petty topics.
Always interesting to see who is chosen to sit on these panels and advisory groups Marc C....always interesting.
The TAG for the Family Carers issue.....ALL of the members had some financial relationship with the Ministry of Health.
Two of the members' primary experience with disabilty was through the ACC system...which pays family carers....so what the hell they were doing in an MOH Advisory Group was beyond me.
Some folk, it seems, have found a niche in which they can purport to represent the interests of a particular group on a particular issue, collect their pay, and are in no way accountable for any negative outcomes.
Some of these people would appear to have a certain level of intelligence....so how is it that they do not see that their 'involement' is mere tokenism?
Yes, Rosemary, it is true what you write, and it is happening at all levels of "stake holders" in the system. We have a fair few budgeting services and some advocacy services, also those looking after WINZ clients. As many such agencies and groups actually depend on at least some of their funding from the Ministry for Social Development, they will of course avoid to bite the hand that feeds them.
In my view that is at least part of the reason the draconian welfare reforms were not more stiffly opposed, but rather just with a bit of verbal criticism here and there.
Also CCS Disability Action and similar groups rely on government funding, as on their own they would not be able to deliver the range and kinds of services they do. So they may speak out on some matters now and then, but will in all honesty, discretely, be very mindful of their need to "cooperate" with their paymaster.
That is the state of affairs in health and disability, social security and ACC. Even the doctors and other health professionals depend on public funds the government pays them, so they are to certain degrees all compromised. Naturally offices like the Health and Disability Commissioner are also only "independent" in appearance, even if the law states so, because it is again the government, that funds their work.
With increasing outsourcing, contracting out of services, this is getting worse all the time, as workers in these sectors are increasingly on individual employment contracts, or self employed and/or not unionised.
So there is insufficient unity and force to challenge what goes on, all over the show.
I learned not long ago, that even the Office of Ombudsmen has their staff work on individual employment contracts, that was at least until last year.
So every single player is very mindful of their dependence on money to feed themselves and their families, and few dare rocking the boat, where it may deserve to be rocked more.
OK new Ministers. Nicky Wagner new Minister for Disability Issues. Any background in disability - anyone know? Jonathan Coleman new Minister for Health. Ex doctor but any knowledge about disability support? Hekia still Minister of Education but special ed often goes to an assoc minister. We have Nikki Kaye - who at least has a family member with autism so might be OK - and David Seymour (Act).
Minister of Social Development Anne Tolley will hopefully not be so hard line against disabled beneficiaries as her predecessor. Apparently was quite concerned about disability and prisoners in her former role as Corrections Minister.
Will watch with interest. I advise those with urgent disability related issues to get to the new ministers asap while they are still fresh and interested..
Nicky Wagner.....well, she did participate in the 'pretend to be Deaf' / walk a mile stunt...in between schmoozing her Boss. Trained as a teacher but quickly morphed into business...specifically fashion.
Read all about it here...http://www.nickywagner.co.nz/
Coleman...trained as a doctor, but clearly had taken the wrong fork. Got back on track by doing an MBA, and teaming up with PWC, while slumming it as a part time GP in Otara....gives him the common touch perhaps, a touch of street cred???
Hilary...Tariana had a brother who was a tetraplegic...as she frequently liked to remind us to give her 'crip cred'. Certainly this experience with disability failed to give her any real empathy for those with high and very high care needs.
I appear to have taken out a life membership in the Pessimists Society...
However...one glimmer of hope...Anne Tolley might actually take a gander at what the Government is happy to spend per year on a prisoner ($90,000), and what a person with a disability is supposed to live on on the SLP per year....about $11,000.... and think....hmmm...somethings not right here....
There were some media reports last week, which mentioned some new research done in cooperation by universities in Amsterdam, Dusseldorf and also Massey University. There have been new findings that appear to show, that certain insecure, precarious work can have serious effects on people's health, and that resulting stress and anxiety can cause asthma, yes possibly other ill health.
It puts into doubt the repeated claims by such "experts" as UK professor Mansel Aylward and others, who did research under sponsorship of the controversial health and disability insurer UNUM, which included "findings" and resulted in claims, that most illness and disability was merely based on "illness belief", and that most people would be healthier if working, and so forth.
The NZ government used Aylward to justify their welfare reforms, and we have even had WINZ Principal Health Advisor Dr Bratt go around likening benefit dependence to "drug dependence". Bill English did also make such a bold comparison not long ago, saying getting people off benefits is like getting crack cocaine addicts of their drug.
While many sick and disabled sincerely want to work, it should be seriously considered, that work is not necessarily that good for a person's health, unless it is work a person actually can do, with some supports, and unless a job is secure, fulfilling and pays enough. All else simply may put people at greater risks.
The government is keen to bring in yet more reforms, as John Key said soon after the election, so I am somewhat concerned, how these will look like. We get stuff all evaluation on what has been done so far, and the new approaches to basically expect sick, injured and disabled to stay in work, get back into work a.s.a.p., or to return to work sooner than was expected in the past, may have already cause substantial harm to individuals. We do though simply not hear about this, as the media seems to lack interest in reporting on what goes on in the area. The focus is rather on how many get off benefits, no matter what, how many costs may be saved, and on a mad shooter in Ashburton some time ago.
Here are some links to interesting new information by the way:
Disabled deserve respect and must be assisted in a fair, reasonable and inclusive way, and no unrealistic expectations must be made. So while I continue to mistrust the government we have, the challenge is with them, to acknowledge this and implement their draconian "reforms" in a reasonable manner. Anne Tolley is supposed to take over from Paula Bennett, I hear. Well at least she does not seem to be such a "smart-arsed bully" as I feel Bennett is.
Let us wait and see, what will happen with her at the helm.