Posts by Stephen Keys

  • Access: Fighting seclusion with…,

    Ashley sounds high functioning with his verbal ability. I worked with severely autistic adults and children for 15 months at Hohepa Hawkes Bay. Most of them were non verbal and sometimes aggressive, though usually to themselves which could be hard to watch. They all managed to live in communal residential houses with their own bedroom but shared bathrooms and living areas.

    As a Steiner based organisation they live, work and go to school on a bio dynamic farm. They eat well, get a lot of exercise walking or on bikes (very important and one of the best parts of the job) as well as various physical and emotional therapies in line with anthrosophical philosophy.

    No it isn't perfect all the time and staff are paid barely above minimum wage but my sister (severe autism and Down syndrome - perhaps one of the most profoundly disabled in the country) has been a resident there for more than 35 years and it saved her from confinement when she was a child. The IHC could not handle her adequately and 40 years ago their Mangere facility was revolting.

    Our family was blessed that someone told my parents about Hohepa and they took her as a child. Nor can we fault government funding. Millions have been spent on her care.

    Hohepa is one of the best for mental health care. Occasionally someone is too violent to stay and needs a more secure environment for their own, and the safety of other residents and staff. They are also underfunded in a global sense and cannot pay what the job requires to attract and retain staff. Many are dedicated beyond belief despite the poor pay and there is a strong group of foreign volunteers and paid staff from all over the world, mostly from a Steiner background. Some are there because they cannot get work anywhere else and recruiting people who will do this work for minimum wage is a constant problem.

    As a final thought maybe some thought should be given to one agency for the disabled to simplify things for everyone and cut down on admin costs and hassles.

    Hopefully somewhere more suitable can be found for Ashley that provides the quality of life and experiences that he deserves and gives his parents peace of mind

    Auckland • Since Jun 2014 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: In The Green Room,

    The Greens talk a lot about sustainability and how the current economic policies aren't working. So why are they the only Green Party in the world not actively promoting "steady state" economics? Too hard? Too unpopular? If the current system is deeply flawed, why just tinker with it with Labour??

    Auckland • Since Jun 2014 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Letter, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    "As I said on Twitter, Jared Savage did the kind of basic follow-up on a legitimate story that journalists should be doing as a matter of course. I’m sorry if this time it’s been politically inconvenient to the Labour Party, but I’d like to see more of it not less. And let the chips fall where they may."

    Well said. Labour and National have both been involved in the same shenanigans over the years. The more serious issue is the donations not the letters. The letters stem from the donations.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2014 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Big Chill,

    I made much the same points on Friday

    Nicky Hager is the best exponent of book form investigative journalism. Isn't he currently working on Wikileaks material pertaining to New Zealand? What are the implications for him from this ruling?

    Auckland • Since Jun 2014 • 4 posts Report Reply