(S)election

simon.for.parliament@gmail.com

I am now on the campaign trail! This is so exciting! I am now formally trying to raise funds to ensure that our democratic processes are followed through. I am actually doing it!

My first trip is next week to Te Awamutu. I will meet Party activists as well as fellow candidates, and hopefully will also meet some of the locals. Whilst the Taranaki-King Country Electorate, where I am standing as a candidate, is mainly farming communities and therefore a blue stronghold, people need to have the opportunity to choose from a list of candidates in any election. Therefore, it is not just about winning (though this would be terrific), but also of giving the people of King Country a choice of who they want to represent them in Parliament. However, whilst last election we lost by a large margin, there is no such thing as an unwinnable seat. With your help, we can show New Zealand that heartland New Zealanders want their Country back from those who would sell it to the highest corporate bidder.

Also, we want to mobilise the Party Vote for Labour, so that we can govern this year.

As such, I have written the following on Facebook, which I will now paste here for this blog:

_______________________________

Fundraising Update

Hey all.

This is such an exciting time. We see Labour as a Government in waiting, ready to reverse the damage of the last six years, and bring New Zealand back into the black economically through sound fiscal policies. We will have a Prime Minister who is an Economist and not a stock trader. Who knows how Kiwi businesses work, and who is out to make New Zealand society affluent and fiscally independent.

To do this, we need good Candidates for Parliament. As you are on my Facebook page, you either are a friend, or support my work in this area. As such, I am sending the first request for financial support.

I have a pre-campaign meeting in Te Awamutu for selection in the Taranaki – King Country Electorate. Once that has been approved, we have hustings for selection.

Some of our neo-liberal politicians seem to have issues with declaring election funds and expenses. This is wrong, and shows a lack of commitment to the democratic process which we have come to expect from the fat cats. As such, I will have my funds always itemised on a spreadsheet on Facebook and available to anyone. Labour is committed to open governance, and the elections are an essential part of our democracy. Therefore, I am copying what I understand President Barack Obama did for his campaign.

I will list what I need expenses for. I will itemise the costs, down to cups of coffee, and so you know what your hard earned money has gone on. If you do not want to be named, that is fine. However, I will give you a code for each donation if anonymous, so you can still see where your money was spent. I will even provide the receipts to show where expenses have gone. (I am minded to use dropbox for this).

If the reason for expenditure changes, then we will put any donation towards a similar expense. For example, if the meeting this week is cancelled, then any funds raised will go towards hustings in March. Any leftover cash can then be returned to the Electoral Committee for use next election, but I do not anticipate having much left over.

So. My first trip on election business. This does not come under the Electoral Act to my knowledge, as I am not yet selected. However, I will still declare it all to be sure.

Next week – Monday 24 February (to be confirmed).

Titirangi to Te Awamutu to meet the people in the Electorate and other possible candidates

Distance – 163 km each way.

Cost – $40 each way

Total – $80

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Hustings Trip:

Loan of a tent

Following petrol donations:

Auckland to Te Kuiti – 200 km at 25c per KM = $50

Te Kuiti to Otorohanga – 75km at 25c per km = $18.75

Otorohanga to Te Awamutu – 75km at 25c per km = $18.75

Te Awamutu to Auckland – 165km at 25c per km = $41.25

(Total transport – $128.75)

Five meals at $10 each – $50

Four hot drinks at $5 each – $20

If you can afford $5, that is a coffee to keep me going. $10 is a meal, and $20 is a section of the journey.

Also, $200 is the entire weekend (excluding camping fees), $280 is the next two trips in total, and $30,000 is the entire campaign!

If anyone can donate $30,000, if I get in, I will host you to a guided tour day in Parliament, including meals, flights and anything else practical (and legal and moral).

Campaign Launch

Today I launched my part of the campaign for the 2014 General Election:

We really do need your help. I really need your help!

What I would ask you to do if you want to see a change in Government in New Zealand is read the above article. If you do not have Facebook, I will paste the article below.

Then sign up for the Labour Party “I’m In” campaign by clicking this link.

Even if you do not agree with Labour, but want to help me as a candidate, please join me by e-mailing simon.for.parliament@gmail.com

Any help and support you can give would be greatly appreciated. I will keep you in the loop as to what is happening, and what you may be able to do to help. Also, I would be keen to hear your views as a prospective Candidate.

 

New Zealand Labour Party 2014 General Election Campaign

4 February 2014 at 16:22

We need your help.

This year is an election year, and with it comes the once in three year opportunity to build a better Country for us all. In the last six years, povery has been on the increase, not just for those of us on the lowest incomes, but for all but the richest in New Zealand. We have seen Christchurch left to die after the earthquake, whilst more and more roads are built here in Auckland. Our children and elderly are mistreated and neglected due to lack of support, whilst tax cuts are given to the most wealthy.

Whilst unemployment has dropped statistically, we now see a situation where the Twenty percent of New Zealanders with disabilities who are unemployed (Sixty percent of us) far exceeds the official unemployed figures for everyone. Proof that we are being manipulated with numbers.

As hospital services are run down, ACC make it harder for injured people to claim, waiting lists for operations grow longer as people are refused treatment, and our children go hungry and without adequate shelter or clothing, we are being told that life has never been better and everything is wonderful in Aotearoa.

Do you believe this?

Labour needs your help and support over the next year so that we can work together to remedy these issues.

I need your help.

I am standing for Parliament on the List, and may also be standing in an Electorate in the heart of the North Island, pending final selection. This is not an effort on my part alone, but something that we need to do together.

If you want to support Labour with rebuilding New Zealand, then please join the Labour 2014 campaign and say that YOU are in by clicking this link:

http://action.labour.org.nz/?recruiter_id=16459

If you want to be part of my campaign for electorate and List, the I really would love to hear from you. I have set up a dedicated e-mail address to keep you up to date and so that you know what is happening at simon.for.parliament@gmail.com. Please e-mail me to join our campaign. I also have a dedicated Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/groups/610588395640547/

There are many things we can do together to ensure that Labour gets in. We need the supporters to help us in all areas of the campaign, including campiagn managers, local supporters, fundraisers, telephone canvassers and many more! Whether you can help with one hour a month, or 12 hours a day, we would love to hear from you!

E-mail me now so that we can have a good start to ensure a better New Zealand for ourselves, and most importantly, our children.

Also, please feel free to share this around. The more support we can get, the better!

simon.for.parliament@gmail.com

Domestic Violence Clarified

Over the years, I have had so many fierce VERBAL fights over domestic violence that it is not funny. I greatly appreciate the white ribbon campaign here in New Zealand, but equally hate the emphasis that it is men against women. However, this morning I took a step back, looked at the labels and entrenched views, and came up with points that maybe clarify the matter. I would like to share them here on the hope that this blog lays to rest some of the miscommunication that is occurring around issues of rape and domestic violence that is in turn making the whole issue not one we can unite to stamp out, but one that is causing an even bigger gender divide.

Before I begin, my qualifications to speak on this. As a teen I was raped by another man. I am open about this and am secure in myself that it was not my fault, that I am still me, but that the trauma and feelings around this are intensely damaging. However, if I can use this experience to help others through the same, then I am happy. Whilst at Law School, I managed a men’s refuge in Manurewa. I make no secret that the Trustees (with two exceptions) were mysoginistic, women hating chauvenists, as bad as the man hating extremist feminists, and that I was at odds with them as I believe in a holistic family based approach to resolving issues of DV.  Since then, I have done some DV work as a Lawyer, and I think I have some ideas as to the issues.

So. My perspectives:

Violence is wrong.

Violence can happen from anyone to anyone.

It is generally agreed that MaF (Male Assaulting Female) violence tends to be more physical and FaM (Female Assaulting Male) more psychological.

MaF is more likely to end up with more severe immediate physical consequences than FaM.

Other areas of DV (Domestic Violence) are not considered as they should be, and stats are not collected hollistically around the issue of DV.

Gender affects the probable outcomes and types of DV to a significant degree, but this is a trend as opposed to a cast iron prediction.

What some people are saying is that DV is a gender issue, I believe because gender significantly affects the outcomes statistically.

What others are saying is that by focussing on gender, men are being victimised with no credible recourse as it is a ‘women’s issue’ and so there is a belief that men are never the victims of DV.

Some are also saying that by not focussing on women, DV is somehow watered down in seriousness.

I do not agree with the last point at all. DV is wrong and we all know this. Gender distinctions do not make it less wrong or more wrong, and do not excuse or mitigate DV in themselves.

Social conditioning has a view that men who are victims of DV are somehow less male, with terms like “weak”, “wimp” and worse, and with the attitude of “toughen up” from society.

My point is that until we get ALL the demographic and situational statistics around DV in NZ, we cannot look at the issue without a personal agenda.

People with disabilities are concerned about abuse against people with disabilities.

The senior communities are worried about elderly abuse.

Women are very active against DV towards women.

All of these issues need to be considered.

Men have no real group that supports their views, and so many men feel, quite validly, that their DV issues are ignored.

Many people active in their specific areas are so converned about their area that they forget to look at DV holistically, or feel that to do so will negate their work.

With all of this in mind, my contention is that until we take a holistic approach, beginning with neutrally defining Domestic Violence, and then identifying who statistically the victims and perpetrators are, and then tackle the issues from an individual AND family group perspective, the issue will continue to remain unresolved.

So as a conclusion and clarification to my view here:

I advocate collecting information and statistics.

I also suggest that the law and society victimise women in the very wording and emphasis of DV. Rape for example is specifically a man PIV raping a woman.

MaF in the Crimes Act or in the social conscience does not allow for tough strong women assaulting vulnerable males. It makes women into victims and men into monsters.

I hate with a passion DV. I have been the victim of sexual assault in the past, and violence without very good cause is wrong.

I respect people, women and men, with equal passion and sincerity.

If a woman has been raped, I am concerned and there for her. Same as if a man has been raped, though legally this is not possible which is a complete joke.

For me, my passion is high on the subject, but I really do think I am coming at the issue from a gender aware but gender neutral perspective.

Being gender aware means being aware that gender affects the issue. Being gende rneutral is accepting that DV can happen to anyone irrespective of gender.

Psychological violence can and often is far more damaging than physical violence, though that does not in any way detract from the severe trauma of physical violence.

Psychological violence is usually not spotted as there are no obvious symptoms, until the person basically cracks under the pressure.

As such, FaM can often be a lot more insidious and damaging in many ways.

Whatever one’s thoughts on this though, the over-riding issue is clear and I think we can all agree on:

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS WRONG.

With all this in mind, to speak up against DV from a different angle such as disability or elderly abuse, or from a male rape perspective is not in any way negating or minimising the impact or severity of more traditional views of DV. Far from mitigating violence, to know the issue more comprehensively is giving those fighting it more tools and knowledge to effectively combat DV permanently. As such, rather than having a politically correct view that DV is always males beating up their poor weak little wifey, which in itself is a patronising and degrading image of women, I am advocating for a neutral, holistic and complete collection of all data, demographics and factors of DV victims and perpetrators, along with reasons and background dynamics, so that a clear picture can be established to show what generally causes DV to be initiated, and what drives it along for years sometimes without the matter being resolved. We all need to leave our agendas at the door in the name of fixing the issue.

This post is on an emotive subject, and if people are not reasoned and are offensive, I will either delete their comments, or even worse, publish them to show how unreasonable that person is. I believe in free speech, but with respect and sensitivity. Please show such respect and remember that I am trying to find why this issue has caused so much disharmony between genders, and to see if some of that can be removed for the sake of once and for all getting rid of DV issues from our society.

PS. Please excuse spelling errors. WordPress does not have a spellcheck!

Thank you!

Parachute, Families and Disabilities – A person’s eye view

I am hoping to attend Parachute next weekend by invitation to write a number of articles here and elsewhere. My proposals are around how the Parachute event organisers and workers are reaching out to the communities in NZ, especially families and people with disabilities. I have attended twice now, and the services and support is amazing. However, we need to see what is happening in a much more rounded way. As such, I am hoping to attend and assess froma  media perspective what is on offer, what can be done, and how things work in practice. I also want to guage some of the Artist’s views on families and people with disabilities attending and appreciating their work.

If I succeed with my application, watch this space. It is an exciting time, and we need to know how such large events cater for us in specific terms. Exciting!

Labels and Voting Habits

Recently, I have stated that from personal experience, some friends of mine who are National Party supporters are getting disillusioned, and are not happy with the direction that the Prime Minister and his Cabinet are taking. I emphasise that my friends are my friends because they are compassionate, caring and supportive, though I do not see National in that light in general. However, I know a number of grass roots Nats who are amazing people.

As such, I have begun to think about labels. Recently, a woman who described her views as ‘Pro Choice’ did a blog on abortion. This thread is not about abortion, but the story here highlights my point. I have always considered myself overall to be ‘pro Life’, but with reservations. This woman however gave a view that almost identically matched my own, yet our self affixed labels were opposite. She started speaking about how no-one considers abortion to be a good thing as such, and went from there. I realised that whilst you get radicals on all sides, the bulk of us are pretty close together in views and perspectives when you look at things neutrally.

So it is with National and Labour. I have let go of my antipathy towards National, though I do not agree with their outlooks and policies. I cannot ‘hate’ people because they are Nats, just as there are some Labour people who I do not get on with, despite similar political views. As a result of this, I am looking at the policies and attitudes of the Parties, and I see more and more that Party politics comes in two forms. The first is promoting genuinely held beliefs such as asset sales. Labour is against. National is for. This is clear cut and a basic, and really easy for voters to decide upon. National used to be about equal opportunity, meaning the ability and opportunity for anyone to succeed, but that is now very clearly a Labour priority. National is about limited Government whereas Labour espouses democratic values. (The second form is the populist manner of NZ First and the Conservatives who just say what people want to hear for votes).

I get these from the National Party “Vision and Values” page, and the New Zealand Labour Party “Labour’s Principles” page. When you read these side by side, you can see a trend that National espouses community and the individual, and Labour’s priorities are democratic process. fair and equal representation and working together. Both sound great, though with my views, I think that Labour values are a lot more in line with what we need compared to National values.

At this point, I am not going pro-National Party. I do not like them based upon what they are doing and what they stand for. I am pro Labour as their values match mine significantly more closely. However, both sets of values sound pretty good, as they are supposed to, but when you get down to what things mean in point of practice, I find National unforgiving and hard towards people.

Anyway. What we then need to do is look at what the Parties are actually doing in practice. These values are essential, and I know that at the Labour Party Conference, people held them in mind very carefully. However, if the laws being put out by the Government are not in line with these values, then surely that is hypocritical?

Look at what is going through. GCSB Bill. Not in line with limited Government. The Food Bill. Taking away Personal Responsibility. Drug testing for beneficiaries. Not equal citizenship or equal opportunity. Basically, it appears that National as a Government have forgotten their core principles.

If this happens, the question to ask is whether the Government is representative of the Party and its grass roots? If it is not, the time has come to define for yourself what the Government actually believes in, and write their principles and core values as YOU see them. Then compare these values to the other Parties, and see if any others are a closer fit. People suggest that Labour is about supporting the poor, but this is not true in itself. It is about people taking precedence over the ownership of wealth. Given the fact that Labour is a supporter of NZ businesses, and in comparison, every NZ credit rating drop has been under National, with two of the three being after a significant amount of time under a National Government, perhaps the time has come to wipe away the labels and reappraise what the Political Parties stand for?

What I am saying is ignore the propaganda, and look at what is actually being done. Are the laws being passed truly in the best interests of New Zealand? For example, is signing the TPPA without public consultation a decision that is in our best interests, or have we a rogue Government that is covering up their wheeling and dealing? Remember the main political Party views on this:

Green – Get rid of the TPPA.

National – Sign the TPPA at all costs without consultation.

Labour – Open the TPPA for public examination and consideration, and then decide whether it is in our best interests or not.

Just because you do not like left leaning Governments and Labour is left does not mean that this is correct. Left is a label, like right is a label. Get past traditional views of left and right, and look at what is best for New Zealand. Reject the labels, stereotypes and propaganda, and look at what is actually being done. Also look at the motives for what is being done. I truly believe now that Key and Cabinet are aware that they are likely to lose, and so are feathering their nests for post-Parliamentary work. I think that Labour realises that they may well succeed, and so are at the perfect point for any political Party. They are selling themselves as the viable alternative. I think that the Green Party are trying to show themselves to be a credible third Party, but make the occasional gaff that comes from a lack of experience. NZ First is just trying their usual populist propaganda to win Party votes at all costs, as are Act. The Conservatives are simply trying for any media coverage, as any publicity is good publicity. The curse of the new Party.

Therefore, what I would suggest is forget the labels. Forget what ‘everyone knows’ as ‘everyone’ is often wrong. Simply look at the policies, look at the track record, and weigh up the honesty (or otherwise) of the characters involved. If we ditch the labels and vote according to who can do the best job, we then hold all the Parties accountable to their membership and to the Electorates.

The Shift in Political Dogma

There is a trend I have noticed in politics that I find interesting. There are the staunch left and staunch right supporters who will apparently never change. From the perspective of a Labour supporter, if we can get them out to vote, we have nothing to worry about.

We then have the 40% or so who are floating voters. These people decide the elections. However, there seems to be a move that is eating into the ‘staunch’ National vote. This is that people are realising that the divide between Labour and National is no longer traditional “Rich v Poor”. The idea of National being against those nasty dole bludgers and people who do not want to work is dying, and about time. It has taken years, but people seem to be waking up.

The new divide as it actually stands is Corporate v Local.

National are determined to see the big multinationals do well, and sell this idea with the concept of ‘trickle down’. It is worth noting that if you want to get water to the thirsty, you do not go into a drought ridden area and give all the water to the first person you meet, on the hope that they then give some to those in most need. What may trickle to those in need is a small proportion of the river that has been pumped to the Corporates. What you do is you go in, find those in need, and help them to support themselves permanently, whilst ensuring their wellbeing in the interim. Trickle down does not work, and only a corporate Party could ever have dreamed up such a lie.

Anyway, many National Party supporters are waking up to the fact that Labour has taken over from National in regards to the ethical right. National are the most moderate right wing Party, and they are pretty extreme now. As such, with a centre right void, many people are waking up from the lullaby of lies that National has been whispering for some time now.

National are pro Corporate, anti-State, anti-regulation and basically after an economic anarchical system where the corporations control the means of production without regulation. In the US, this is Tea Party Republicanism, but as Key is “Such a good Kiwi bloke”, everyone is being suckered into supporting Tea Party policies in New Zealand. If he gets his way, Governments will be basically a “Citizen’s Association” with no power or control over their lives. The Corporate elites will rule and we will have a new monarchical system run from the USA.

Labour has come in and made it clear that they are not for the poor, the workers, or the disenfranchised. Whilst they will do everything they can to help such people up, they are for New Zealand. That is New Zealand businesses, people, culture, and infrastructure. Kiwi businesses take precedence over multinational corporations, and New Zealand is a sovereign State and not part of the United States of Corporations.

As such, National is for Corporates and Labour is for New Zealand businesses. This truth is starting to be realised by the business community, and as a result, we are starting to see staunch National supporters actually supporting Labour as the sensible alternative. This does not mean that Labour has gone right wing. Far from it. I do not think it has ever been more progressive. What it does mean is that we have realised that for a successful Country, we need good, strong businesses, and a happy, healthy population.

A recent example of this was a proposed change in Employment Law I heard about. I cannot source this, so if anyone else can, that would be great. However, Key’s Government was proposing that anyone above an income of $150,000 per annum is no longer subject to the Employment Relations Act, and could be dismissed any time without any procedure. As I understand it, the Unions have stepped in and objected, as they are after a level playing field for all employees. If this is true, then we have a situation where the Unions are supporting the rights of the top earners against the National Government. Key has let down his voter base, and I think they are starting to wake up.

Basically, a vote for Labour is not a vote for extreme loony left policies such as we saw in the UK in the 80s. It is a vote for common sense, an equal playing field for all, and a fiscally secure Country obtained by a fiscally prudent Government. When Helen Clark was voted out, New Zealand was in the black. Within a year Key had NZ back in the red, and we are now more in debt than ever. I contend that he is trying to bankrupt our Country as then the Corporates will have their way in and can use us as worker units with no rights.

This is why I would suggest that all National Party voters look at the facts, figures, policies and records, and then use common sense to vote. After all, Labour is the only common sense option in today’s political arena.

 

Prejudice and judgement alive and well

I really am feeling so sad.

A South African guy with clear mental health issues pretended to be a sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela‘s funeral. He pulled it off except that he cannot sign.

The result of this is everyone is making fun out of the guy with mental health issues. There is no questioning the security systems that let him through despite such issues. There is no questioning the care and support for people with disabilities. There is just the attitude of ‘Laugh at the retard’.

What really makes me sad about this is that some of the loudest laughter and, when this is questioned, insults, is coming from the so called ‘progressive left’. I am proudly left wing, and have found this to be a welcoming and tolerant section of the community overall. However, in this matter, even our own, people with mental health or neurodiversity issues, are joining in with making fun of this guy.

I thought we had come a long way forward on the left, but perhaps we have not cone as far as I had hoped.

A sad reaction to a sad situation.

Disability Reality Check – The Numbers, Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics.

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Yesterday evening I was honoured to attend the launch of Be Employed. This is an amazing initiative from the Be Accessible team to encourage employers to be accessible. The driving forces behind this are amazing. Minnie Baragwanath, who is one of the most amazing forces in the disability sector, is driving this with people like John Allen, CEO of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on the Board. Supporting this are people like AUT with the Vice Chancellor, Derek McCormack, Simon Power, former MP and now General Manager of Business Bank, Private Bank, Wealth & Insurance at Westpac, Tanya Black, the presenter of Attitude TV with her crew from Attitude, and many others.

This morning, I started looking at the figures around disability issues. It makes very gloomy reading for New Zealand, and we are throwing money away in an attempt to cover up disabilities instead of considering what it would mean to actually be inclusive of people with disabilities.

Inclusion is the only way forwards. NZ$11.7 billion has been lost through non-inclusion according to John Allen. That is the same as giving every woman, man and child in New Zealand a gift of over $1,800.  To put it another way, that is $5,300 per worker in New Zealand. People complain about the cost of inclusion. I can understand why, but it is a false argument. People with disabilities usually do not need any extra modifications, but even when they are needed, not only are there Government grants to ensure that they proceed, but also they make the workplace more accessible not just for workers, but for customers and everyone else. Once a ramp is put in for example, there is always a ramp there for everyone.

Within the disability community, 60% of us are unemployed, including me. Given that 20% of New Zealanders have a disability of one sort or another, 396,000 people in the workforce age range unemployed. If average unemployment is 6% (and this is definitely a Government massaging of the figures. See below), then the unemployed are made up of people with disabilities by 200%. Two people out of the one person who is unemployed have a disability! Nonsense of course, but if you have a disability, you are not unemployed by WINZ statistics, but rather you are unemployable. What has happened is that people with disabilities are hidden from the unemployment figures. I suspect that we are put onto sickness benefits so that we do not count, making Government figures look great! In point of fact, unemployment is rampant due in part to people with disabilities not being properly employed, and until we address this, we will be dragged further and further along the path towards a third world nation.

If we take the 396,000 people with disabilities and unemployed, and allowed them minimum wage ($13.75 per hour) at 40 hours a week, assuming that they are on a basic benefit of $250 per week, each person would be earning about $3,100 per annum in PAYE. Furthermore, they would not be claiming $7,000 per annum in benefit. (Allow for some benefits they still would get such as Accommodation Allowance). As such, each person would mean a benefit to the Government of $10,000. That is therefore a benefit of almost $4 billion every year to New Zealand.

We are losing up to $4 billion per year because the Government and employers will not take disabilities seriously. The Government claims to be spending $26.3 billion on social security and welfare per annum which does not make any sense at all. Are we expected to believe that $26,000 per annum is spent on every person in New Zealand who does not work (including children and superannuates) each year in welfare and benefits?

So what does that mean?

The first conclusion is to quote Mark Twain – Lies, damned lies and statistics. The Government figures are clearly a joke, and have been massaged so often that they lie in a bloody pulp. How much is spent on benefits? Who knows, but I am positive that it is not $26.3 billion per year. If that were the case, then about $500 per week is paid out for every child. Every homemaker. Everyone who was unemployed. Every pensioner.

Clearly that is rubbish, and we are being lied to by numbers.

The second conclusion is that people with disabilities are not getting the support they need to find work. If unemployment is at 150,000 people in New Zealand, but unemployed people with disabilities are double that number, then there is clearly something wrong here.

Clearly that is rubbish, and we are being lied to by numbers.

The third conclusion is that disability issues have to be made an election issue, and we have to be proactive in including this community. If we do not, we will continue to waste a lot of money on keeping our disabled community hidden, and we will continue into recession.

The fourth and final conclusion is that this Government has lied to us, and is playing games. We need to vote for the Candidates and the Parties who are supporting disability issues at the next General Election, and ensure that we build an inclusive society. Almost everyone I know who is unemployed with a disability wants to work. Many are highly qualified. Until employers overcome their prejudices, and Government supports them and us, we will continue to be unsupported and marginalised to the detriment of New Zealand.

Finally, just for reference, this is a tweaked version of what I put up on Facebook yesterday evening based upon this presentation:

Here are some facts and figures that highlight the issues of disabilities in New Zealand:

$11.7 billion is lost through not utilising people with disabilities in the workforce.

20% of New Zealanders associate with a disability.

Of this 20% of the workforce, 60% of us are unemployed.

Out of 3 million or so workers, 600,000 people associate with a disability.

Out of that 600,000 people, 360,000 of us are unemployed.

Think about it. On minimum wage, assuming that everyone is getting a basic benefit of $280 per week, the savings would be $400 per week per person.

If everyone who was unemployed with a disability was employed, the financial gain in saved benefits and taxes would be $7.4 billion per annum based uponb minimum wage.

Or to put it another way, everyone in NZ could be given a gift of $1,800 and we would still be better off.

Do you STILL think that disability is an irrelevant issue?

The answer is simple. We need to vote out the National Government and make disability integration a priority.

My suggestion is make disability a core issue at the next election.

Also, I would urge voting Labour as the Party who will proactively work on these issues.

(Disclaimer. I have done my best with these numbers. My sources are either Be Accessible, Statistics New Zealand or other Government sources. They are no doubt wrongly calculated, and I have noticed a few points where I have got my sums wrong. I have done my best, but the calculations may well be wrong. If you can make more sense of them, I would be grateful.)

The Fourth Estate and Politics

Isn’t it amazing what thoughts can develop from the most unexpected sources? I was having breakfast this morning and Bro Town was on TV. The episode where the Morningside youth from St Sylvester’s went to the Youth Parliament. After watching a bit of it, I commented about “Politicians and the media” which got me thinking further.

As far as influencing voters goes, there are a number of main influential areas. Some annoy me like the Church in politics. Many Christians are right wing. We have the ‘Christian Right’. However, that to me is an oxymoron. The Newsroom on HBO has a clip that speaks volumes. As they say, the biggest threat to the Tea Party Christians is Jesus. Feed the hungry. Heal the sick. House the homeless. Jesus sounds like a Labour Party supporter as opposed to a Conservative, Act or National party fan. Christianity is traditional left wing values. At its core, a hard day’s work for a hard day’s pay, see people right, do not fiddle the numbers and see the community and people in it right. This to me is the guts of Labour as well, whatever misinformation is pumped out by the National Party propaganda machine.

The area though I am looking at today is the media. The influential areas are:

1. Family and friends.

2. Media

3. Political campaigning and advertising

There may well be more, but the most influential I would guess is family and friends. We bow to pressure. We want to be part of our Peer Group. I have a good friend who was a Thatcherite in the UK, and has come to New Zealand. He grew a social conscience, and continued as a successful businessman. However, when Rotary sponsors like Paula Bennett and John Key realised that he was Labour, they withdrew charity support and shunned him. This is sick! This shows who Key, Bennett and their cronies are really.

Point of information. I am not bashing national Party supporters here. I know many good, compassionate right wingers. I am sad they are on the right, but I respect their views, and are friends of mine because they care for people. I am bashing the liars and hypocrites. Those who take other people’s opinions personally and act like prima donnas. Key and Bennett – I am looking at you two here!

Anyway. The media influences everyone all the time. The way they report on issues makes or breaks things. David Cunliffe spoke about the chances of a deep sea oil accident the other day, pointing out that the reports that showed the chances of an accident went up from 10% to 70% with deep sea drilling. The media pounced on it, and took the fact that the Minister pointed out that this could be as simple as a cut finger.

WRONG!

Does deep sea oil drilling compared to shallow water drilling increase the chances of  cut finger by 7 times? If it covered any OSH issue, then the chances of an accident would be 100% or close to. We all have odd accidents, and so either Anadarko is not reporting all their accidents according to OSH regulations, or the Minister is again fudging the facts. Common sense shows that deep sea drilling is significantly more dangerous, and the Minister is fudging the issue. How much are YOU getting from Anadarko when you leave Parliament or the drilling goes ahead Minister? It is also worth noting as an aside that Labour have not rejected drilling out of hand. They have just taken a common sense approach that the safety has to be proved before permission is given. 70% chance of an accident is the opposite. The danger has been proved, and do not be side-tracked by rubbish like cut fingers. What percentage would the Minister put on cut fingers as opposed to a full oil disaster? Also, remember our response shipping as it stands now. We have three of the following clean-up vessels:

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New Zealand’s answer to International Rescue

Anyway. The media swallowed the National Government line and downplayed Cunliffe’s issues with multinational propaganda. National are willing to play dice with our tourism industry, as Key will no doubt lose the next election anyway, but also I think will get a nice ‘consultancy’ fee from the same multinational companies for which he has sold New Zealand and Kiwi businesses.

The media influences public opinion in a huge way, and because of this, I contend that they are as much political institutions as the MPs. When we speak about ‘politicians’ I contend that we should include TVNZ, TV3, Patrick Gower, Mark Sainsbury and the rest. They influence the voters, and so help decide who makes the decisions. They are lobbyists in practice, though the New Zealand media, whilst quite biased at times, in general terms is pretty neutral.

I personally like the people I know in the media. Some are more arrogant, and some more compassionate. However, I do appreciate what they do, and with the odd exception (like the outside reporter for a radio station who was listening at the door when I was discussing a legal case with a client. And in regards to this, I give fair warning – if that EVER happens again, I will have Security escort that Journalist out of the Court, seek a trespass notice from the Judge, and put in a formal complaint with the Press Council). However, we get the odd bad apple in an otherwise well regulated and fairly neutral profession.

I just say one thing to those in the media before I finish this article:

Don’t be lazy.

If a politician feeds you a line, do not just believe them. The deep sea drilling issue is a good point in question. How did we cope with the Rena oil spill? Was the information available to all, and to access this information, would it take serious research, or just a quick Google query? Is the Minister fudging the facts for personal or political gain? Basically, ask the questions, do your job, and look behind the obvious. I can often see when the Government is fudging, and that should be your job, whoever is in Government.

The Politics of Autism – Beware the Borderline Personalities.

It is a funny old world. We work hard to get a voice, but are so busy with our own agendas that we treat others like dirt. In the process, we end up being further divided.

Recently (a few months ago) I did a talk show. The interviewer was keen to learn, but did have some common preconceptions that came through that some found offensive. I decided not to pick him up every few seconds to get the real message out there. The real message is that people on the autistic spectrum, just like people with other issues, can do anything. However, one person touted as a spokesperson by her friends texted me a barrage of angry texts, ending up with a resounding Eff Off. She messaged me a month or two later to say that she fogave me! Such amazing kindness! I felt so humbled and grateful that tears came to my eyes as I felt gratitude for her magnaminous gesture. For those others on the Autistic Spectrum, this is definite sarcasm.

This person is put forwards as speaking for us, but whenever anyone else stands up to say we do not totally agree, she attacks. I can name four people excluding me with whom she has conducted character assassinations against. Basically, she wants to be queen bee, and has the support of the person who pretends to be the wise old man. However, it seems to be an act to maintain a power base. What is so sad is that her behaviour does not seem to be autistic spectrum but much more insidious.

Anyway. Not everyone who claims to have a neurodiverse issue does indeed have what they say. Beware people claiming to have this that or the other. They are not necessarily telling the truth. Indeed, these people do us a lot of damage as a community, as they are divisive and in it for self glory. If we speak up against them though, we get slammed and silenced.

I am writing this not to say ‘poor me’. I am a Lawyer and want to get into Parliament. I will endure a lot worse than this. However, I am gravely concerned by the people who are silenced by someone spouting off one worldview and silencing anyone else who dares say anything different. Vulnerable people are at risk, and I for one have issue with that.

Scams are not necessarily for money. Sometimes they are for perceptions of importance or power. All I am saying is beware, and always check behind the fake smiles and grandiose allegations.

(Given the vulnerability of some others who this affects, I will not be approving negative posts. I usually do, but on this issue, I am going to be draconian and harsh. Sorry.)

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