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Viewing entries tagged with 'politics'

There but for the grace of gays go I

Posted by Philip Patston on 9 March 2010, 9:15 am in , , , ,

"Actually, I blame religion for my sexual orientation."

Originally published on 3news.co.nz | 9 March 2010

One of the great things about hitting 40 was the realisation that I no longer had to do stuff young people do. So it was with great relief that I found out that Shaun and Anna, members of our Peer Support Network, had decided to go to Mardi Gras. Far better they wave the gay disabled flag than me, because mine’s a little thread bare.

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Parents - pay them or not?

Posted by Philip Patston on 8 March 2010, 5:05 pm in , , ,

I recently spoke to Mike Gourley on Radio NZ National's "One in Five" about the Government's discriminatory practice of not paying family members who support their disabled children into adulthood.

Listen here »

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Is homework taxing your Whanau Ora?

Posted by Philip Patston on 23 February 2010, 9:58 pm in , ,

Originally published on 3news.co.nz | 19 Feb 2010

Just when I was scared I'd have to write 400 words about why the Government might have thought it was an act of economic brilliance to put GST up and income tax down in the same breath, John Key went head to head with Tariana Turia over "Whanau Ora" and Karori Normal School banned homework.

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Don't get hit by a bus today

Posted by Philip Patston on 25 January 2010, 12:10 am in ,

You better hope you don't get hit by a bus today, because the NZ Government is hellbent on restricting your choice of who could be paid to support you if you sustained a short- or long-term injury.

According to the NZ Herald, "the long-standing battle by eight families for financial help to look after their [significantly] disabled adult [family members] will continue with a Crown appeal." The appeal is against the decision of the Human Rights Review Tribunal, which found that the Ministry of Health discriminated against parents of disabled adults because “they are not allowed to be paid for the services they provide to their child (or children) while anyone else providing the very same care to their child (or children) is able to be paid.” (See previous blog post.)

The Crown's argument is that "the decision could open the floodgates to potentially thousands of claims for ACC short-term injuries where people leave hospital but still need care and a family member is willing to provide that for a payment."

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Minister affirms dysfunctionphobia in bid to appeal rights decision

Posted by Philip Patston on 9 January 2010, 3:58 pm in , , ,

They say the test of a society is the way it treats its most vulnerable. I would say the test of a Government is the way it responds to landmark decisions of its human rights authority.

Minister of Health Tony Ryall said last night the Government will appeal the decision of the Human Rights Review Tribunal, which found that the Ministry of Health discriminated against parents of disabled adults because "they are not allowed to be paid for the services they provide to their child (or children) while anyone else providing the very same care to their child (or children) is able to be paid." Ryall said the decision could "open the floodgates to potentially thousands of claims for ACC short-term injuries where people leave hospital but still need care and a family member is willing to provide that for a payment." (NZ Herald)

Ironically, the Tribunal did not accept that "the financial impact of paying family members currently excluded would be unsustainable."

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Not funny: Non-disabled actor playing a disabled person for laughs

Posted by Philip Patston on 18 December 2009, 11:38 am in , , , , ,

I received the following email from Tanya at Attitude TV and thought I'd share it and my reply. I'm interested in what others think so leave a comment, please.

Tanya writes:

I went to a performance of ‘The Sexy Recession’ last night at TAPAC in Auckland.  A cabaret/burlesque/skit comedy show with some outstanding, some average and one very disturbing performance.  A young man came out, moving amongst the tables in an electric wheelchair, signing (badly) amongst other things, about how his mind is willing but his body’s not able, hard to explain but a kind of Barry Whitesque croon with sexual innuendos...When I fist saw him I thought great, someone else in the show with a disability, then I was thinking it’s kind of in poor taste, then I realised he wasn’t actually disabled but he was making fun of being disabled and I was totally gob-smacked.

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Ministry of Health funding: so close and yet so far

Posted by Philip Patston on 7 December 2009, 5:52 pm in , ,

Recently (well, over 12 months ago actually) I applied for Ministry of Health funding for an "innovative lightweight power add-on system for manual wheelchairs", called e-Fix, and a hoist to be able to get my chair independently in and out of my car. In November my application for the e-Fix was assessed at Priority 1 (and funding was released), but the hoist was assessed at Priority 2 (without a funding release date), which leaves me in a rather untenable situation.

With the e-Fix attached to the chair I am unable to get the wheelchair in and out of the car without the hoist because of the weight. This means I am unable to access work independently, which involves running workshops, speaking about diversity, entertaining and attending meetings throughout Auckland and often Northland and Waikato.

I am unable to propel a manual wheelchair, so am unable to engage in work in public without the assistance of a support worker, which leaves me dependant and unable to be autonomous.

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NZ Govt compensates for circumstance over experience

Posted by Philip Patston on 15 October 2009, 8:32 am in , , ,

Once again our government has opted to compensate common circumstance over common experience. By wiping suicide from ACC's responsibilities, putting it in the "sickness" rather than "accident" bucket, our leaders refuse to value the fact that grief is the experience common to people who lose loved ones, no matter the cause. They choose instead to recognise the more common grief-causing circumstances of car crashes and work accidents and ignore the more unique circumstance of suicide.

This is no different to the distinction made between the circumstances of birth- or illness-related and accident-related dysfunction (disability). People who experience disability due to birth trauma (like me) do not get the same level of financial recognition as people who have a similar experience of disability due to, say, a brain injury during adulthood. Again, birth trauma goes in the "sickness" bucket and is compensated at a lower level than accidental trauma, through Health and Social Welfare funding rather than ACC.

I think it is important to acknowledge the subtle fear of dysfunction (dysfunctionphobia) at work here. Accidental dysfunction is seen as more worthy of financial compensation than congenital dysfunction. Why? Because accidental dysfunction presupposes the loss of the hallowed state of normality, or common function. Accident compensation says, you poor thing, you'll spend your whole life remembering what it's like to be normal. Health/welfare funding says, you never got the privilege - get over it. Another unstated belief is, I proffer, that somehow birth- or illness-related events could somehow be avoided, whereas accidents just happen.

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Majority (51%) of Workers Still Hide Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity at Work, says US report.

Posted by Philip Patston on 7 October 2009, 7:00 am in , ,

Majority of Workers Still Hide Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity at Work

New “Degrees of Equality” report finds persistent negative climate for LGBT workers.

9/22/2009

Washington, D.C. – A majority – 51 percent – of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers continue to hide their identity from most or all co-workers, according to a new report released today from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that examines the real-life experiences of LGBT workers.  The report, “Degrees of Equality: A National Study Examining Workplace Climate for LGBT Employees,” found that, despite significant advances in employment policies at major U.S. corporations, a majority of LGBT workers continue to experience a range of negative consequences because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.  Younger workers are even more likely to hide their LGBT identity – only 5 percent of LGBT employees ages 18 to 24 say they are totally open at work, compared to more than 20 percent in older age cohorts.  The report is available for download at www.DegreesOfEquality.org.

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Using a wheelchair is the Key to surviving Letterman

Posted by Philip Patston on 31 August 2009, 7:26 am in , ,

Sunday Star-Times, 30/08/2009: 'A few weeks before Prime Minister John Key's possible appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, the Sunday Star-Times solicited tips to help him look good.'

From me!

'Disabled comedian Philip Patston said Key should use a wheelchair. "Everyone looks good in a wheelchair. They don't see you, they just see the wheelchair. So it wouldn't matter what he wore."'

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