I spent $35 to prove to Auckland Transport I'm still disabled
Plus: FIFA feature NZSL commentary, and we fill our cups at the INVOLVE youth conference
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This week, we've been soaking up the wairua of the INVOLVE youth development conference. For three days, we met with and listened to so many good humans doing good things all across the motu alongside our taiohi - our cups were filled!
One of my favourite sessions was about intersectionality. Some of the speakers spoke about the experience of being Asian and disabled in the medical system, which personally resonated with me as a Chinese-Malaysian wheelchair-user! Sometimes it feels like there’s not many of us around, and although the research findings were a bit grim - surprise, surprise 🙃 - it was validating to feel I wasn’t alone in my experience. And we really hope The D*List can feel like a similar space for you too!
This week Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced the Government was ending all Covid-19 restrictions, including mask-wearing at healthcare facilities and the seven-day isolation period for people who test positive. Hipkins said he’d “longed for this particular day” back when he was the Covid-19 Response Minister.
The Minister for Disability Issues Priyanca Radhakrishnan told Stuff the removal of the remaining Covid-19 mandates follows official advice. "Aotearoa New Zealand also has good access to antiviral medicines for people who are most at risk of a serious health outcome or hospitalisation from Covid-19,” she said. "There is good evidence that antivirals can make a difference for these eligible people."
We asked some of our Instagram followers about their thoughts on the Covid-19 restriction update and here were some of their responses:
This week also saw the release of Stats NZ data on employment rates for disabled people for the June 2023 quarter. Unsurprisingly, this made for… pretty devastating reading:
Employment rate for disabled 15-64 year-olds was 39.4 percent, compared with 81.7 percent of non-disabled people (a 42.3 percentage point gap)
Unemployment rate for disabled people 15-64 years was 10.7 percent, compared with 3.5 percent for non-disabled people
Under-utilisation rate for disabled people was 23.8 percent compared with 9.6 percent for non-disabled people (a 14.2 percentage point gap).
The DPA published a great response to this news, imploring decision-makers to work with disabled people to design policy that will improve our lives.
Last week I attended an appointment to once again prove I am still disabled to qualify for a Total Mobility Auckland Transport HOP card, which gives you a discount on public transport and taxis. I had to go in person to my local CCS Disability Action office and answer some questions, then pay a $35 fee for the assessment. I asked Auckland Transport why this process was so painful: you can read their response here.
With so many of us catching football fever of late, it’s been great to see FIFA producing sign language versions of World Cup highlight videos. That’s right, a major sporting event is publishing accessible videos as part of its regular content packages! We felt like it’s a good time to remind us all how to produce NZSL content that authentically connects with audiences. Check out our contributor Gaby Evans’ tips and tricks here.
Also on The D*List this week, writer Henrietta Bollinger reminded us about the importance of rest. They write: “I don’t easily acknowledge the way that pushing into places where I am still unexpected demands energy from me, and then requires rest… Even if other people don’t expect me here, I do.” You can read more from them here.
If you’re after some more disability content from some cool people across our communities, you can listen to or read these interviews from Dr Huhana Hickey on Radio Waatea, Tania Kingi and Joanne Dacombe on RNZ and Rodney Bell in The Spinoff.
As always, we’d love you to let us know about events, hui and other gatherings in your local area that we could share with this newsletter community! Flick us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next week - mā te wā.
- Olivia Shivas, Editor