Great post thank you.
As a member of Ngati Deaf you can imagine that I'm well pleased at the emphasis on captioning. But I agree with you when you suggest a focus instead on universal design.
Can you link to your thesis, Jonathan. I for one would be interested to read it.
Though ideally there would not be any rationing of resources or policy attention, the number of New Zealanders with impaired hearing greatly outnumbers those with impaired sight. The Greens also have that internal mana to draw on from Mojo's well-publicised early experience in parliament.
I'm delighted to see a disability policy which does not emphasise personal disability support services - knowing that any coalition will have other parties which pick that up. Some specialisation by parties is great.
Hi Sacha, while public policy is of course about competing priorities, if the Green Party think it is important to make something accessible, then good policy dictates that it should be universally accessible. It should either be done properly, or not done at all.
And let's face it, audio describing content is hardly a big ticket item in the context of the budget.
I feel no differently about this than I would about someone putting lifts that talk and have Braille buttons into a building, without also taking wheelchair accessibility into account. Universal access is good policy, and although their policy is excellent overall, the Greens have dropped the ball on this particular point.
And thanks for the link, Patrick. I had no idea my Thesis was online.
It should either be done properly, or not done at all.
With respect, I believe such a politics of perfection has held back progress because agencies are afraid to even start improving things. Because of the complexity of disability, there’s no way every initiative can work for everyone. If we wait for that, we’ll be waiting an awfully long time. And so will everyone else who needs change.
I addressed this in Council disability policy by insisting on constantly being explicit about who was affected by every initiative and monitoring equity between population groups over time.
For public agencies, that means a combination of how many options people have to meet their needs, and how many people are affected. Businesses may make slightly different assessments including the timing of costs and payoffs and where they believe their market lies.
In any case, I’d recommend organisations implement properly-structured html, machine-readable large print and NZ Sign Language options before most others. They also need a broader framework for understanding communication access, equity and universal design – and that’s where govt and community organisations have really dropped the ball.
We will also introduce quotas for audio-description and New Zealand
Sign Language content.
Isn't this (pdf) the referral you are asking for?
That isn't a cop out. It states a strong commitment, in the context of the policy. The blind community should work with the Greens and other parties to flesh out those timelines and commitments.
". Many parties still seem fixated with medical issues which, while important, belong in a health policy. The Greens get it. Disability policy should be about participation, socialisation and inclusion."
For those disabled with high and very high and complex support needs "participation, socialisation and inclusion" are impossible without having these basic core care needs met.
Those disabled with high and very high support needs HAVE to be fixated on that particular area, because failing to provide safe, reliable supports can not only completely and totally socially isolate that person...but can lead to assaults, systemic abuse and in some cases death. Mostly at the hands of MoH Contracted Providers.
And please don't make me yet again post all the links to reports, media articles etc, etc. I actually find it really depressing to keep going over the same ground.
So, where do those disabled with medical needs, and very high care needs fit into the disability sector?
You say....its health....yet funding for supports for those in the Deaf and Blind sector comes largely from the Health Budget.
Yes, there is an obvious bias towards the Deaf...maybe because Mojo is in the bear pit flying the flag...but also maybe because the representation through various organisations to the government is quite heavily biased towards Deaf issues.
Check out the membership of the MoH Disability Support Services Consumer Consortium
And to bang on again, ad nauseum, about the paying family carers/Public Health and Disability Act amendment, Peter and I attended the first Public Consultation Workshop in Wellington in late 2012.
Sitting at our table was the then leader of a Deaf organisation who was in the process of transition to the CEO position for the government funded charity that is "the voice of all disabled New Zealanders".
Bear in mind that this case/issue/obsession was about those adults with significant impairments who required a very high level of hands on care and/or supervision to keep them safe, healthy and in some cases, alive.
This leader in the Deaf community, on their way to a position that would make them the spokesperson for ALL disabled Kiwis, proceeded to dominate the discussion with concerns about having to pay family who provided Sign Language interpretation services. Proceeded to voice concern that they would have to employ family, who would not be as professional as other interpreters, would not be as bidable.
To my eternal shame, I dissuaded Peter from reading this person their pedigree. He was winding up to give them a quick run down of what his care needs were...(in some graphic detail) and how, unlike them, he would have been unable to attend such a workshop without his carer's (me) input. He was going to ask just how much this person's Sign Language Interpreter was costing the State....as opposed to the State having funded NO care for him (as a high tetraplegic) for 13 years.
I dissuaded Peter from packing a much righteous shitty, because, back then, I thought that somehow some sense of unversial fellowship was possible within the wider disabilty and carer community. I thought perhaps that respect might be shown towards those with a lived experience of that particular issue, by the so called spokespeople for all disabled. Instead of investing their own totally unrelated issues into that conversation....they might just let those deep in the mire of the issue have their say.
I was still being polite. I was still being friendly. I still had hope.
My discussion with people in politics (I’m not talking Mathers, in this context) is that though a strong willingness to engage with disability in all its forms, there has been a difficulty presented by the lack of a unitary voice, and the differing agendas and multiple issue-champions across disability sectors (sight, hearing, physical, mental, and other). If they were able to work together, we would see a stronger political voice, and a stronger set of outcomes across all disabilities.
When politicians and public servants can only take up a small number of things at once, they’re forced to choose those which are both highly important and clearly achievable. And which have a loud voice behind them. Which is kind of what Sacha was saying above.
For those disabled with high and very high and complex support needs “participation, socialisation and inclusion” are impossible without having these basic core care needs met.
And meeting those needs must be high priority, yes, on the basis they have no other options.
If they were able to work together, we would see a stronger political voice, and a stronger set of outcomes across all disabilities.
Quite. Inadequate leadership and lack of investment in the infrastructure to support such collaboration. I lobbied - and worked hard - to solve that for many years, and you see how fruitful that has been.
“the voice of all disabled New Zealanders”
which it has never credibly been.
Hi Sacha, you seem to be looking for a problem that doesn't exist. Audio description is readily achievable. It isn't hard, and it's not expensive. It takes minimal resources.
I think all this is proving is that each disability type perhaps needs to advocate for itself, and that my suspicion is correct that cross-disability advocacy just doesn't work. If Mojo being deaf means the Greens now prioritise the deaf over universal access, then OK, that's the reality. But I don't think your argument about people needing to work together more, and then being so dismissive of the needs of blind people in this case, is consistent.
Indeed, Government funding for blindness services, what funding there is, comes largely from Health, which I didn't support at the time and don't support now.
I think all this is proving is that each disability type perhaps needs to advocate for itself, and that my suspicion is correct that cross-disability advocacy just doesn’t work
Unfortunately 'advocacy', of the steel toe cap boot wearing variety has been replaced with CEOs of government funded organisations having 'conversations' with each other and with various levels of Government....the payers of their salaries.
And whoever pays the piper calls the tune.
As a little aside Jonathon, in the absence of audio captioning....how would being able to read the script work? Perhaps a facility so the script of a programme could be accessed in real time would help fill in those silent gaps?
Hi Rosemary, it's an interesting idea, but I see a number of problems with this.
Audio description is great because it equalizes the TV watching experience. Just as with captioning, disabled and non-disabled people alike can sit around the telly and share the experience.
Providing access to a script means that someone's got to have some sort of device with them to follow along with that script. The majority of blind people don't read Braille, so they would need some kind of talking computer, which can distract from the main dialogue.
But I guess that's a little bit like what I described with my House Of Cards experience in the main post, where to really appreciate what was going on, I had to look up a summary afterwards.
The good news is that TVNZ now has the infrastructure to do audio description and some NZ On Air funding has been allocated. So it's a case of allocating more funding and asking political parties to be specific about how much they're committing to.
and asking political parties to be specific about how much they’re committing to.
Good luck with that.
Sometimes, its like herding cats.
being so dismissive of the needs of blind people in this case
Two of the three options I suggested as priorities meet the needs of people with impaired vision. Who else's needs do you reckon are less important?
Funding for personal disability support services was shifted from social welfare to health portfolios to help Ruth Richardson make certain political claims at the time. The problems of health managers not understanding the difference between illness and disability have persisted since.
each disability type perhaps needs to advocate for itself
That benefits those with an historic advantage like the blind community, certainly. But it is largely what has been going on for decades, so I think we can make some judgements about how well it works overall by now.
The only group of disabled people who get to keep their income support payments even when they're working is not those with impaired hearing.
It might be that the hearing impaired make more political noise, due to sign language and the associated culture.
only in the last decade. it comes in waves.
Just passed this on to Mojo. She's out at present, but will respond as soon as she can.
Precisely, this is not about resources, the appropriations are tiny. This is about squeaky wheel politics and it's bad public policy.
I also object to Sacha repeatedly defining me as a "person with impaired vision". I am not. I'm a blind person and I would like my right to define myself respected.
No offence intended. I’ve laid out the language I use in previous posts. Other people are free to use whatever labels they want.
For me, people with impaired vision includes low vision and blind, just as people with impaired hearing includes Deaf and hard-of-hearing.
I get that there are important cultural belongings involved, and I’m certainly not trying to deny those. But I am speaking about more than one person.
It isn’t hard, and it’s not expensive. It takes minimal resources.
Unfortunately that is true for many other solutions – and I agree it can’t be more than an excuse for not pursuing them. When our self-anointed representatives purr about securing a sub-inflation increase in disability funding, we’re in trouble.