Progress is happening.
We shot home Tuesday morning from Lake Taupo as I had the Disabled Person’s Core Group meeting to attend. Not only that but I also had the opportunity to meet Valeria, who I sent a Search & Rescue team after in the Far North a few weeks ago. Although I got the “Lost Party has been located safe and well” response from SAR it was good to see her and give her a hug. It was also good to hear her side of the story of what had unfolded that day. It was a pleasure to meet her and get to know Valeria a little.

Was so good to meet you Valeria!

After meeting with Valeria I headed for the November Disabled Person’s Core Group meeting in preparation for the Regional Leadership Group for Enabling Good Lives. It was heartening to see this group starting to grow and providing feedback for the system transformation.

Unfortunately the feedback was not all that positive. In our October meeting we had encouraged people to get involved in Working Groups and Virtual Testing groups that were being set up to engage the community (Disabled people, families/whanau, providers and officals) in the co-design process. To hear that people had a applied for these groups and not even received a “Thanks for your interest but…” email was very frustrating. Actually it was more than frustrating, as Regional Leadership Group representatives we had been advocating for people to get involved, that Ministry of Health are listening and that we have an opportunity to make positive change; by our group members not receiving a response was a hit to the process and to our credibility as representatives. Many of our members have seen this lack of communication as a sign that the EGL “Co-design” process is just “another bullshit consultation process where they don’t listen anyway”.
In saying that, the dissappointment was very clearly expressed to the Ministry of Health during the Regional Leadership Group meeting on Wednesday. The head of the System Transformation team had been planning to reply to each applicant personally, they were overwhelmed with the sheer number of applications that were received. The lack of communication will be rectified over the next few days.
I had also registered interest in some groups and found the communication to be lacking, I was bought into the Safeguarding Working Group basically because I had the opportunity to talk to the “right person” so I was not surprised to hear that others had not been contacted.
So now that I’ve got that out of the way…
That time I interviewed Jade

I remember saying to Jade Farrar at the first Regional Leadership Group meeting that although I understood the need to build trust within the group that I was looking forward to getting into the “nitty-gritty” of it. Jade smirked at me and asked if I was sure about that. Well Jade, I now know what you mean! Since I put my hand up for Regional Leadership Group I have been invited to two of the Work Streams and one of the Virtual Testing groups. I’ve read several laws, some of which I had never heard of before. I mean I know I said I wanted to get into the “nitty-gritty” of it all, I just wasn’t expecting to jump in so deep! Although looking back on some of my achievements, I’ve done a lot of “deep level entry” for a few projects and sports so it really shouldn’t have surprised me that I jumped into the deep end on this.

As a Regional Leadership Group we are now receiving some of the work from some of the Work Streams that are currently happening for our input. For me it has been a bit of a relief to see some results of all the work going on behind the scenes; sure it’s going to be awhile before we see the practical implementation of this work but to actually see information coming out of the Work Streams gives me confidence that we are gaining traction.
Yes, we still have a long way to go. Yes, we have to “train” the officals on how to work with the disability community and what Co-design actually is. Yes, our system has taken too long to respond to our needs. However, I’m prepared to take up the wero, do the mahi and to do my part to work towards positive change.
He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata!
“What is the most important thing in the world? The people, the people, the people!”
This whakatauki is why I’m on this Enabling Good Lives adventure; I do it for the people, I speak for those that can’t or won’t, I do it because we all deserve better.

Have a great weekend people!

ADNZ Ben enjoying Lake Taupo last weekend.

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