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Access: Some aspects of New Zealand’s disability history – part four

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  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    who where why when was accessing support from the Ministry's Disability Support Services. Unfortunately, it has all been top secret since.

    I remember an article in the Review....from the cp society, about 2008/9...

    They requested quite specific data from the MOH via Socrates...and, by heavens, got the information requested.

    The society were able to generate a wee chart showing the numbers of people with cp (affected enough to require support....enrolled with the NASCs) in each region of NZ.

    The CP Society was able to cross reference with their membership lists in each region....with the ultimate aim of boosting membership.

    Of course, with the CP Society (at the time) also being an MOH Contracted Provider...might have given them an advantage.

    Of course....I cannot put my hand on the magazine. I will search later and post a link.

    Interesting, at Peter's last NASC review (2013) the assessor let slip a wee piece of paper on which was written that Peter had a Brain Injury.

    When we queried this categorisation we were told not to worry...its just the way the MoH sorts people.

    WTF?

    The support needs of a person with a high spinal cord impairment are clearly different from the support needs of a person with a brain injury....or any neurological impairment.

    The Misery Of Health could'nt organise a bunfight in a bakery....to be polite.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I remember when SOCRATES was established at huge expense several years ago. It was sold to the sector as something to provide incredibly useful information for the public, and government departments. I expected regular updates of who where why when was accessing support from the Ministry's Disability Support Services. Unfortunately, it has all been top secret since.

    Yes, this behaviour does a great deal to enhance suspicion and reduce trust.
    Bill English says that

    John Key runs a very transparent, open government.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11366368
    but the evidence shows the contrary is closer to truth. For an individual member of the public to access useful information from Socrates or the NASCs is extremely difficult. My complaint to the Ombudsman regarding the Ministry's claim that NASCs are not subject to the OIA has not yet reached fruition, but can't be too far from it.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Angela Hart,

    Given that the Ministry holds all the Socrates data (at least in aggregate), NASCs should have no part in answering questions about it anyway.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to Sacha,

    True, but the Ministry's response to my OIA request for data that must be on Socrates was that the data was held by the NASC and that the NASC was not subject to the OIA at all- not even in its capacity as a contractor to the Ministry.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Angela Hart,

    Socrates was explicitly a reporting tool to the Ministry. They must know. Just taking the piss, I'd say. Hopefully the Ombudsman will agree when they finally get to your complaint.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to Sacha,

    Of course they know, but they don't want the information made public under any conditions but their own, and all the power is in their grubby little hands. The Ombudsman does agree but has to go through a lengthy process which may or may not yield a useful result.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    http://www.hague.co.nz/case_study_1_programme_management.asp

    SOCRATES as a case study.

    "It also supported greater recognition that disability services are not entitlements to be doled out but tailored supports for the independence of people with disabilities."

    A rather proud wee piece from the company that designed the Socrates database.


    "We did all of that over two and a half years for a fixed price and completed it on time and on budget for a solution that had never been implemented before anywhere."

    And.....????
    "

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Socrates collects information from the 15 Ministry of Health-funded NASCs and stores it securely in a central database.

    Thanks. As I thought.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart,

    I wonder how secure it actually is.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Thank you for that. I remember that when a man from the ministry came and told our consumer group about Socrates many of us who were parents of disabled children assumed it was for recording information about difficult parents. Perhaps it would have some secret coding to say 'watch out, difficult demanding parent, avoid'.

    Why would we be so suspicious?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    'watch out, difficult demanding parent, avoid'

    Or, "stroppy old crip with the shrewish partner."

    We have no doubt whatsoever they have a 'shit list'....and we proudly earned our place when we got a 24 hour trespass notice from parliament grounds back in 2009.

    Which leads nicely to this....

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/oneinfive/20150419

    Yippee! Parliament is about to become more accessible!

    But don't hold your breath.

    In a departure from the "only positive stories please" format, we hear how long, tortuous, steep and winding the paths to democratic engagement have been for NZers with various impairments.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to Sacha,

    Which means that the Ministry made at least two assertions in its written reply to me which were factually incorrect 1) that the requested information was held by the NASCs alone and 2) that the NASCs are not subject to the IOA for this information. How do you trust a Ministry which responds with blatant lies?

    Why would we be so suspicious?

    Perhaps the Ministry's minions make us so with their antics.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Go Ruth Dyson! Sounds like progress.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    By the way I wrote a serious little summary of NZ disability policy here
    http://briefingpapers.co.nz/2015/02/disability-policy-in-new-zealand/

    I was asked to write it as a result of this Access blog, so nice to know people read it.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Great summarised version. Thank you.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart,

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Angela Hart,

    Cool. Initial response: interesting, some poor decisions, work to do to unscramble, no source tables provided like StatsNZ do ..

    and really bad grasp/framing.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Crikey. Top 10 impairment types include 3 separate ones for Autism Spectrum Disorder, making it the second most common* MoH-funded category if you add them up like most humans would.

    * footnote suggests analysts have not adjusted methodology since the 2001 or 2006 Census rounds. Inexcusable.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Sacha,

    p17 says 'principal' impairments show autism spectrum as 3rd most common. Again, proviso about grasping context applies.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C,

    “Progress included Paul Gibson’s appointment as New Zealand’s first Disability Rights Commissioner in September 2011. A Disability Action Plan 2014-2018 has been developed and a new Independent Monitoring Mechanism comprising the Human Rights Commission, the Office of the Ombudsman and the Convention Coalition (made up of Disabled People’s Organisations) now monitors the CRPD. New Zealand has not yet sign the Optional Protocol allowing individuals to take complaints to the UN under the CRPD.”

    All this may sound positive, apart from the last sentence.

    But when we look at the reality, the Ombudsman does nothing much but “monitor” and include a section in the Annual Report, the Commissioner is likely to be as half hearted and ineffective ans the Health and Disability Commissioner, and the Privacy Commissioner, and human rights laws are only of use, if they can be enforced.

    So that means, people need to be able to take cases to Tribunals and Courts, to get their rights, when they are not honoured by government and agencies. What we have though is anything but encouraging.

    I came across this recently, and Frances Joychild wrote in February or March this year, about how we basically have a crisis in access to justice, particularly for the many poor and on benefits:

    “Frances Joychild QC on the fading star of the Rule of Law ”
    http://eveningreport.nz/2015/03/24/frances-joychild-qc-on-the-fading-star-of-the-rule-of-law/

    It makes for grim reading, and the “solutions” seem to only represent some rather desperate hope for some legal experts to volunteer to do more.

    Our present government has basically dis-empowered the weakest of the weak, when it comes to justice, and even the forever underfunded Ombudsman will offer little or no help. We have a crisis, and disabled will be amongst the worst affected, as some commenters here full well know.

    Akl • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Rosemarie Garland-Thompson was briefly in NZ last week. She's a professor of English and a disability activist currently at Emory University in Atlanta. She was interviewed by Bryan Crump on Radio NZ Nights and talked about the importance of human diversity http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/nights/audio/201751236/allowing-disability-to-be

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to Marc C,

    Frances Joychild QC on the fading star of the Rule of Law

    Thanks Marc, that is a very disturbing piece, information from someone in a position to know. I already knew that I can't afford "justice" should I find myself on the wrong side of the law, but I didn't realise it was quite so widespread.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Frances Joychild has long been a friend of disabled people. She led the family cares' case and is now heading the IHC's education complaint.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Can you believe this? Effectively preventive detention for "wilful damage" because the guy is disabled
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/67924943/autistic-auckland-man-ends-sentence-but-still-cannot-go-free

    another 18 months on his sentence and then what?

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Angela Hart,

    That is one of the unintended consequences of the IDCC&R Act. Rather than a more appropriate placement than jail for disabled people, many people are now being locked up indefinitely. There are several cases around NZ. Good to hear that Justice Action is on to it.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

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