Thank you Ezekiel.
I've always thought civic involvement is a great focus to require more accessible communication from public organisations. It's why we trialled large print in the statutory Annual Plan process for the old Auckland City Council, though sadly further work to embed it was not done. It was also not extended to the internal materials like meeting agendas, though I started some work on that for Waitakere. You experienced what happened to potential leverage in the Manukau City process.
Once those communication and other basic barriers are removed a wider range of people can become more involved. However, we do need a conscious and ongoing investment in our capability to play a part after so long on the outside. That's going to take more than expensive (and therefore rare) individualised 'leadership' courses.
The one-off Making Honey seminar we organised during my time with DPA Auckland was about showing our community a range of options for involvement, from voting for NZ Idol to being a Member of Parliament. We ran out of volunteer energy to continue what was intended as an ongoing programme of events and work on that theme. For example, I wanted to take groups of disabled people to public committee meetings of Councils and District Health Boards, with discussion before and after about the process. Would have helped when it came to recruiting committee members in some cases.
I agree that even government agencies and disability organisations have not made that mental shift from us being able to vote for others to being elected and making the big decisions.
My experience is that political parties are actually rather keen to encourage diversity and participation. They aren't value-free vessels though, and the constraints on promoting people relate to the talents and experience, and 'fit' with the values of that party. In the Greens, 4 of 36, or slightly above 10% of ranked candidates are disabled. Two were very recent members, both encouraged and inspired by the success of a profoundly deaf Mojo Mathers, and the other was a long-standing member with a lot to give. I would encourage participation in parties, but put the caveat that only the exceptional (of any identity) get promoted quickly through the ranks.
I asked a friend in the sector recently what the sector's "minimum demands" were. He replied that there were no unified demands, as there were too many actors across a range of disabilities. As someone on the outside who would like to be supportive, I'd like to see a few clear messages and demands that crystalise political action.
As someone on the outside who would like to be supportive, I’d like to see a few clear messages and demands that crystalise political action.
As someone on the fringes...ie, the partner and fulltime carer of a person with a disability...I would definately concur.
There needs to be clear policy statements, bottom lines. Any difference of opinion between individuals or groups WILL be exploited by the Powers That Be.
We saw that with the Family Carers case.
Active opposition from the President of DPA NZ at the Human Rights Review Tribunal in 2008, delivering a petition to parliament today when it all went to shit...claiming that the rights of disabled people have been set aside by the PHDAct amendment. WTF?
This may be a deviation from your post Ezekiel (and I would like to hear more about d4d), but it is relevant.
There are some credible and creditable disabled people who should be in Parliament, to keep Mojo company....better rattle your collectve dags.
Sacha..".We ran out of volunteer energy to continue what was intended as an...." , could you expand on that?
If it was a lack of ABs help....?
*Our* volunteer energy.
For those on Facebook there is a new 20percent campaign to encourage disability activism in the political process. Led by Tiaho Trust in Northland. https://www.facebook.com/20percentNZ
Not on facebook anymore Hilary...believe it or not, somehow we survive.
Excellent initiative by Tiaho Trust, and if they can get a broard cross section of the Northland disabled community involved, all the better.
I read Jonny Wilkinson's statement about the Family Carers Case, and it seems he is on the same page as the president of DPA NZ who strongly advised the Human Rights Review Tribunal not to allow payment of family carers.
Frustrating that there is no date on that page from Tiaho Trust. I think when the court case was happening and various groups were taking philosophical positions (for an ideal world) there was a healthier political climate for disability and no one anticipated the eventual draconian law which was the outcome, particularly the outlawing of complaints using human rights law. Now there seems to be unified outrage against the PHD Act. At the handover of the petition at parliament on Tuesday, Green MP Catherine Delahunty called it the most outrageous breach of human rights in the current session of parliament. She and Ruth Dyson have been working together on it so there is some parliamentary cooperation going on which is good to see.
and yet the Government continued the case through the courts during Ruth Dyson's era, or am I wrong?
If time and consideration has brought wider recognition of the enormous unfairness inherent in this Act, an echo of similar unfairness demonstrably visible in the disabled community in New Zealand, that's a good thing. But time is one thing many of us don't have a lot of.
I understand where the naysayers for paying family carers are coming from, and when you have struggled long and hard to have your voice heard, any issue that seems to undermine your autonomy could be perceived as being a threat.
What really gets me is that it is family carers that are being sidelined…like we are the ones that are somehow keeping our disabled loved ones back.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
You are right Angela, Labour could have sorted the family carers issue….and I still have not seen anything in print, any definitive statement from either Labour or the Greens that they will repeal PHDAct 2, AND, have the redacted sections of the Regulatory Impact Statement revealed.
Democracy is all very well…but it MUST be in good faith….must be completely transparent.
All we all become blind.
Democracy is all very well...but it MUST be in good faith....must be completely transparent.
Forced local body amalgamations, as with Auckland
Disenfranchisement and voting difficulty
to name a few of the attacks on democracy in this country by the current government.
As for transparency I'm sorry to say that is a joke, it must be when the Ministry of Health claims that the agencies it contracts are not covered under the OIA (personal communication). If that is allowed to stand then any agency contracted by any ministry is exempt from the OIA, and we have opaque, not transparent government.
We also have opaque policy and evaluation at the MSD
and there are moves in Education that are not/have not been transparent either (charter schools, Christchurch school changes).
The Keydom of New Zealand, methinks.
A complete diversion but perhaps an appropriate flag would be crossed keys on a greenback background?
Forced local body amalgamations - now there is a sleeper election issue. Decisions have already been made in regions like Wellington but are not going to be announced until after the election. Unlikely to be any meaningful consultation, or any opportunity to challenge and you can bet that no disabled people's organisations have had any input.
Just again, this night, traveling through the internet, I get concerned where we are going, and what NZ stilll stands for, at times:
Maybe some will relate, but we need to move on, and grow a united society, thanks.
Yes, a cohesive, caring society with well understood common values and agreed goals. But this can't happen without open discussion, effective consultation, consensus building and actual democratic government. I wish it were not the case but present indicators cause me great concern. I'd like to help grow a united society and I don't think that can happen unless more heads come out of the sand.
Forced local body amalgamations – now there is a sleeper election issue. Decisions have already been made in regions like Wellington but are not going to be announced until after the election. Unlikely to be any meaningful consultation, or any opportunity to challenge and you can bet that no disabled people’s organisations have had any input.
Wellington locals succeeded in putting the brakes on the ill-conceived Basin Reserve Flyover, and I just hope that act of resistance doesn't mean a forced Wellington regional government merger gets bulldozed through.
Indications are it's a fait accompli just awaiting announcement (after the election) as Hilary suggests. Success with forcing supercity creation in Auckland means it can be done anywhere.
Here's hoping the tragically insecure Mr Smith doesn't ape the Australian govt (h/t Di White):
The Abbott government is following the course set by the Howard government, which was dogged in its efforts to ensure the non-profit sector was prevented from voicing unwelcome opinions. Contracts with community sector organisations routinely included gag clauses and reserved the right to censor public statements before they were released.
.. though I'd note NZ has already excluded advocacy as a charitable purpose when our Charities Act was written and earlier forbidden it in (at least Ministry of Health) govt funding contracts to NGOs, under both Labour and National-led governments.
Where this latest bunch has gone further is in systematically undermining officers of Parliament by either under-funding them, ignoring their recommendations or as in this case threatening them with law changes.
Bullies faced with ineffective, incoherent opposition cause harm.
Here's what I was trying to build for disability activism:
Let's take part.
looks promising, what we are missing is strategy and planning, but anything that gives voice has to be good.
Here's another report being sat on until after the election
what we are missing is strategy and planning
Giovanni and I managed a useful little twitter conversation with Chris Hipkins last night about special ed issues - by chance. Managed to find out that Labour supported centralised funding for school support staff (long time festering issue) and the 100 extra special ed teachers in their policy would be decided and allocated after consultation with sector. I guess this is a time when politicians - if you can catch them - are keen to talk to people who care.
School support staff have been hard done by for years, too small a group to be well represented by union and ignored by politicians.
It should not be so hard to find out the policies of long standing political parties. They should be clearly enunciated on their websites. We are not well served. Only a couple of the current political parties have clear, detailed policy statements published online.