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Howard's End: Mongrel Mobsters Are People Too

The New Zealand Herald is reporting this morning that Napier man John Jury, who is a tetraplegic from a car crash 27 years ago is a former Mongrel Mob leader, but painting adverse media pictures does not alter the fact that he suffered an accident, is covered by ACC and must receive all of his rehabilitation entitlements. Maree Howard writes.

There is an American Indian saying which goes something like this; " Never judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins."

There is another saying which I was brought up on; "How quick we are to condemn."

The Herald is reporting this morning that John Jury is a former Mongrel Mob member who intimidated professional caregivers with verbal abuse.

The Herald also reports that a woman who was John Jury's caregiver in 1999 refused to continue after two weeks because she said the Napier 52 year-old was so offensive.

The Herald says the woman was afraid to be identified and was scared because "one word and something could have happened to me." She is also reported saying "Even though he is a tetraplegic, he is still quite powerful because he has a mouth."

If this caregiver is the professional that The Herald and ACC claims its caregivers are, then wouldn't they be fully trained and experienced in dealing with this type of anger, abuse and frustration which would inevitably arise from a person in Mr Jury's position over 27 years?

And what of his ACC case manager? What's happened there? His case management, it was earlier reported, was transferred to ACC's remote unit in Wellington in 1999. None of the media reports that I've seen has told us what involvement there was.

The Herald also interviewed police Senior Sergeant John Lovett of Napier who is reported to have said that Mr Jury is well "known to the police."

It raises the question for the media whether attempts to paint denigrating pictures of Mr Jury's background is meant to convince us that ACC's reasons for its alleged mismanagement of this claim have some substance.

What difference does Mr Jury's background have on the issues? He had an accident and he is supposedly fully covered by ACC - end of story.

What The Herald article does do is shine a spotlight on the reportage of The Holmes Show.

If I recall, Holmes reported that grandson, 11 year-old Luke Jury, was Mr Jury's sole caregiver; that he couldn't remember how long he had looked after his granfather; that he couldn't remember when he last went to school and; Luke was Mr Jury's only relative living in the area.

It is now reported by The Herald that when Hawkes Bay Today reporters visited the Jury home it found a son and daughter-in-law also living there.

Apparently, when The Herald rang, a man who answered said he was Luke's father and he lived at the address.

Furthermore, Mr Jury's last caregiver, who was supposedly paid almost triple the standard rate, reportedly quit just three weeks ago after two sessions.

In my view, that's an entirely different perspective than what Holmes front-person Susan Wood painted for the public earlier this week.

Mr Jury has also been quoted in other media saying that his location on the outskirts of Napier, when he was only receiving two hours of help in the morning and one in the afternoon, did not make it worthwhile for caregivers, who were supposedly only on $9 an hour, to visit him.

Did ACC pay transport costs for these caregivers and, if so, how much? Or were they expected to pay their own transport costs out of the meagre $9 an hour.

That's an entirely different story, easily discoverable by large media organisations such as TVNZ with huge news and current affairs budgets.

The responsibility of Mr Jury's family also providing for his care has been brought into the issue by the media. Think how stupid that reasoning is. It means that every old, infirm, disabled or sick person should not be placed into a home for care. Every member of the family should be taking responsibility and the person brought to the home of relatives. Let's empty out the old folks homes!

So people on that reasoning, when your mother-in-law gets old and sick bring her home to your place and take some responsibility for her care - 24/7.

Or when your house burns down and the insurance company says you must go and live with your nearby family, would you accept that?

I don't care about Mr Jury's background.

He had an accident, he is covered, and ACC is responsible for his full rehabilitation no matter how difficult that might be. After all, ACC claims to be a world leader in personal injury insurance - and Mr Jury is insured "no fault."

Denigrating and attempting to marginalise people when things go wrong does not alter that fact.


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