Here's a thought Nicky Wagner, put your cell phone away and pay attention to the people you are meeting with. They deserve your full attention not some half-arsed, I'd rather see who is following me on twitter.
Super well said, Fiona.
Like the Alfred Ngaro incident, Bill English's only response is to tell us not to take his Ministers at their word.
A member of the disabled community and former chief executive of the New Zealand spinal trust, Ben Lucas, described the tweet as unfortunate.
Ms Wagner had slipped up but her apology was heartfelt, Mr Lucas said.
"She is absolutely passionate about disability and making lives better for people with disabilities. Nicky is a yachtie herself and she just loves being out on the water.
"I think it's just an unfortunate tweet that maybe shouldn't have gone out," he said
Not having heard that interview on the radio yesterday I got one of the offspring to convey the gist by phone. " Who is this butt-snorkeller?" offspring asked.
Good question, child. Back in 2013 I was ejected from the NZ Spinal Trust facebook page for referring to the Misery of Health as, well, the "Misery" of Health. Or it may have been "the Miserly". Young Ben phoned us at home to tell us that they would not allow such disrespect as the NZ Spinal Trust was in receipt of funding from the said Miserly. Peter was still abed so the phone was on speaker...we all heard what he said. He later denied it.
Ho hum. No wonder the disability community is struggling... running to stand still...
Great post Fiona.
Finding out that “vexatious parents” is in fact a term they use to condemn us all into a single pile of complainers.
Fellow Vexatious Parent high-five.
I think one of the things all the people telling us to chill didn't really get is the necessarily antagonistic relationship you have with government agencies if you have a disability or a disabled child, and you want to get what you're entitled to. I would rather have drunk bubbles in the sun than spend hundreds of hours battling to get my child's needs provided for.
If they say that about vexatious parents, I wonder what they say about us vexatious disabled people? Vexatious cripples?
Thank you Fiona. Well said. I was bemused by Bill English's comment that no one had really taken offence and that she had a lot of friends in the sector. I'm not sure where he got that impression from. If you work for an NGO which gets any government funding you are not allowed to do any advocacy (ie criticise government policies which might not be in the best interests of your members). So of course you have to be polite and agreeable if you want anything from this or any minister, and public servants have to be on their best behaviour at all times around a minister while telling them what they want to hear. But is this friendship?
Thanks for a good summary.
Then came Nicky Wagner’s half arsed “apology”
This frustrates me to no end. With a speedy search, Countdown's done it. The NZ Herald's done it. Farmers has done it. Nuk Korako's done it. The Board Chair of Fenwick School has done it. The list goes on and on and on. Google. Stephen Fry. And on. And on.
Is there a terrible PR consultant out there who actively advises clients that even when there's obvious offence, they should act as if they still can't see it for certain? Is this a real strategy that "works" for someone's ulterior motive, or is it just PR blindness and incompetence?
Perhaps I'm preaching to the converted in this forum, but what's so hard about acknowledging that something actually did cause offence, and honestly saying sorry to those people who were offended? I guess that's why it's called a non-apology.
you have to be able to grasp what was wrong about what you said.
Yes. But surely nearly everyone I listed has access to a highly skilled PR team, and these non-apologies must have been authored by more than just themselves, often after days or more to reflect and consider. It's hard to believe people and companies in these positions, sometimes the PR departments themselves, wouldn't be being guided by PR experts, yet it still results on non-apologies.
Especially in the political cases, it's like there's an innate fear of absolutely acknowledging having really done something wrong. As well as everything else, we really need a societal shift to acknowledge that mistakes sometimes happen, and to make it acceptable to apologise for things.
Sorry to detract even further from the original topic.
You'd be amazed how thoroughly disability stereotypes are embedded throughout public agencies, private sector and especially media/PR people who should as you say know better.
Thinking an apology shows weakness is another layer, sure.
Another good post on this at Te Wireless.
Wagner’s comments illustrated a critical way in which she is out of touch with our community. While disability may well be a dull portfolio she would like to leave on her desk for the afternoon, people living with disabilities cannot simply opt for a mini-break.
She seemed ignorant of the fact that her tweet’s quippy phrasing implied her work was drudgery she’d rather be rid of. She failed to see that her comments added to a long and painful history of disability being seen as a burden.
I don't know, I think the "sorry if you were offended" type apology, or non-apology, can actually be quite useful sometimes. First, it allows the person who originally made the comment, or their supporter, to say that they have apologised and want to move on. Then, when they are called out for the non-apology they can claim victim status ("it's a pile on! I'm being demonised!"). And overall, the half-heartedness of it conveys very accurately how little the person cares.
Underpinning all this is the assumption that the person who gives offence should care about giving offence. And often they don't very much. It's a particular problem for politicians who will always be skeptical of whether other people's offence is genuine or manufactured for some short term political advantage. If they don't believe the offence is genuine, the apology won't be genuine. And offence over things people say on Twitter etc is a very plentiful commodity. No real risk of a shortage there.
None of which is any help at all to someone who is in fact genuinely outraged by something somebody says. But at least in this case they know that the Minister is sorry enough to bother making a cursory apology but probably not sorry enough to mean it, and that that is good enough for the Government. That's valuable information with an election coming up.
Thw thought occurred to me that politicians in particular don't want to be seen as apologising too sincerely otherwise they run the risk of offending/annoying/outraging other people (most likely their supporters) as they would appear weak or toadying to political correctness or something.
I suspect that even if the politician in person was genuinely sorry, there is a certain political constraint in expressing that too fulsomey.
'None of which is any help at all to someone who is in fact genuinely outraged'.