by Philip Patston.
On the face of it, Winston Peter’s offer of $6000 towards meeting MP Mojo Mathers’ access needs, which was refused by Parliamentary Services via Speaker Lockwood Smith, seems decent. Peters has also challenged other parties to match his offer.
But this charitable handout goes to the heart of a huge problem in NZ and other countries. The “special” needs of people to access communication, services, housing and equipment are too often seen to reside in the realm of goodwill and sympathy, rather than rights and empathy.
We are no longer hidden away in institutions, economically inviable and unproductive. We are living in communities, contributing to the economy and higher in productivity than others in many cases. We therefore have the right and responsibility to be equitably resourced, not given guilty compensation.
It’s about time Parliamentary Services and society – including any people with access needs who are happy to accept a handout – caught up.