Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

A plea for fair disability support

Media Release From Philip Patston

20 December 2010

I back 100% NZ's Chief Human Rights Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan call to the Ministry of Health to accept the decision of the High Court to uphold the Human Rights Tribunal's landmark ruling in favour of a group of parents who have been battling to be paid to care for their significantly disabled adult children.

The Government now has 30 days in which to decide whether or not to appeal the decision yet again.

I think it is crucial that the Minister of Health and officials, whose role it is to make this decision, consider how they approach the task. They have two options:

1. To depersonalise disabled people and their families by seeing us as "them", "those people" and "afflicted" by a circumstance of bad luck, vulnerability and misfortune.

2. To accept that disability, dysfunction and the unique experience that ensues is a possibility for everyone, including themselves.

If our leaders and decision-makers act with ignorance, arrogance and denial that they too could be in the position one day of needing support for themselves or their children, they will choose to appeal the decision again.

They will try to perpetuate a policy that will deny themselves choice and human rights – when they have a stroke or terminal illness, or a child or grandchild diagnosed with a permanent impairment. They will fail to consider, personally, whether they would appreciate the choice to employ someone who knows, cares and loves them or their child to provide that support; or whether they would prefer to employ a stranger to perform intimate care functions.

If, on the other hand, our leaders and decision-makers act with awareness, humility and acceptance that disability is a potential and 99% inevitable experience for them and everyone, at some point or other, even temporarily, they will choose to accept the decision this time around.

Rather than fearing the fiscal consequences, they will realise the economic and social sustainability of investing in a well-supported population, of which they are a part. They will understand that managing disability support well is like managing a business well – you need the right people for the job at the right time.

Sometimes that's family; sometimes it's not.

They will begin a conversation (which, at times, may be difficult) with people like myself who better understand the complex dynamic of disability support. Together, after some time of open, honest dialogue, we will come to a shared understanding of how family and paid support relationships can intersect.

We will realise that the unique experience of disability can sometimes be fuzzy, unclear, awkward, uncomfortable, strange, unfair, wonderful, rewarding and amazing. We will see that paying family members is the economic manifestation of this reality.

So I say to Hon Tony Ryall, Minister of Health; Andrew Bridgman, Acting Director-General and Acting Chief Executive, Ministry of Health; Crown prosecutor Deirdre Elsmore; and anyone else involved in this decision — please don't separate yourselves from our reality. Understand that one day, it could be yours

Perhaps I should only speak for myself. I want a world where everyone feels empowered to be supported by the right person at the right time. I want safeguards in place so that our supporters are supported; I don't want us to take family for granted by expecting they will martyr themselves, unpaid, for our benefit.

However I want stringent systems to monitor paid family support relationships, so that when they work they are applauded and when they need to be changed, they can be changed to everyone's advantage. I don't want people feeling "locked in" to family support, but right now I know people who are feeling "locked out" of choice.

Above all, know that we want this for everyone, not just us. We want this to create a better society for you, as well as us.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On Why Herd Immunity Isn’t A Valid Option, And What’s With Our Reluctance To Wear Masks?

Herd immunity has recently bounced back into the headlines as a tool for managing Covid-19, and as a supposed alternative to lockdowns. In the US, a group of scientists was recently brought together in the town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts by a think tank funded by the Koch brothers. The assembled scientists signed the so called Barrington Declaration, which promotes herd immunity as a rational means of re-opening US public schools and the economy at large... More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On National Being Shafted By Its Own Creation

As it licks its wounds, let’s hope the National Party can still find time to look back with some pride at what it has achieved in Epsom. The Act Party’s nationwide success on Saturday night has been a tribute to National’s foresight, and to its ... More>>

ALSO:

Green Party: 'Fruitful Discussions ... Further Discussions To Have'

The Green Party says there is a negotiation going on with the Labour Party, but there are more discussions to be had. More>>

ALSO:


Border: No Changes To Border Exemptions After Fishing Crew Test Covid-19 Positive

The cases were detected after routine day three testing but the immigration minister and air commodore agree there's no need to change border exemptions. More>>

PSA: Labour-Led Government Has Mandate For Transformation, Equality And Transparency

The Public Service Association welcomes the progressive electoral landslide New Zealand voters delivered on Saturday, and the union says its members look forward to implementing policies that reduce poverty and inequality, support affordable housing ... More>>

ALSO:


Stats NZ: New Report Shows Significant Changes To New Zealand’s Climate

Climate change is already happening in New Zealand and could have a profound impact on future generations of New Zealanders, a new report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ says. Our atmosphere and climate 2020 , released today, includes analysis ... More>>

ALSO:

Judith Collins: Obese People Must Take Responsibility For 'personal Choices'

National Party leader Judith Collins has described obesity as a weakness and says people should not 'blame systems for personal choices'. More>>

Māori Party: Poll Reveals Tamihere On Cusp Of Historic Māori Movement Election Victory

John Tamihere’s election campaign is on the rise and on track to return the Māori Party to parliament, a new Māori TV poll has revealed. The poll released on 11 October during the seventh and final Māori TV Maori Electoral campaign coverage has Tamihere ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Four-Year Terms Of Parliament, And On How The US Courts Are Dismantling Democracy

Last week, the issue of four-year parliamentary terms surfaced again. Infuriatingly, it is being discussed purely in terms of its convenience for political parties. They’d get so much more time to enact their policies, free of scrutiny or sanction by voters ... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels