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2017 Election Party Responses- The Conservative Party

20/9/17 · Posted in 2017 Elections

We asked the main political parties questions about disability issues. Here is the Conservative Party’s response.

Employment, poverty and higher costs – our questions

  1. What would your party do to tackle barriers to employment for disabled people?
  2. How will your party ensure disabled people can access the same range of employment opportunities as non-disabled people?
  3. How will your party ensure disabled people can access a similar range of opportunities in the community as non-disabled people?
  4. How will your party ensure disabled people can access a similar range of opportunities in the community as non-disabled people?

Conservative Party’s answers:

The Conservative Party understands that access to information creates opportunity for people

Enabling those with motor, cognitive or sensory disabilities to surf online increases the accessibility and benefits from all the services that the internet sites provide.

We believe in lifelong learning and would like to work with families on funding options recommended by disability providers to empower greater access to knowledge needed to fit into today’s world.

When it comes to town planning and public spaces greater integration can occur when practical design steps are used during the planning and consultation process. These need to include considerations of pavement design width, products and textures which increase mobility.

Through to signage designed for access, mobility and colour for the vision impaired requiring no red or green, appropriate luminance contrast, font type which is easy to read and there are differentiating colours and contrast between background and message are simple and effective tools to implement in helping integrate disabled community members.

The Conservative Party is looking at key legislation and how to simplify procedures so families can access information easily and understand what benefits they are entitled to.

We are investigating developing youth programmes where students gap year, if they do not have employment or study, can be invested back into helping build New Zealand’s infrastructure either in military training or community service in a field of their choice. This could open up opportunities to work and gain greater understanding of challengers faced in the disabled community. Overseas opportunities would be included with the knowledge gained in each area of expertise used to establish social awareness and programmes in our own nation.

The Conservative Party would like to resource area representatives who can work alongside local businesses open to employing disabled citizens in a role which provides ongoing assistance to support successful outcomes for both the employee and employer.

Exhaustion and Tiredness can be barriers to those who are caring for disabled family members while juggling family demands and business requirements limiting their ability to have the time and space to research job prospects and latest developments.

To transition people into jobs and businesses we would like to see joint ventures between

New Zealander innovators and those with experience in the disability sector partnering in research and design to come up with business models for either social cooperatives or self employment programmes to help combat low expectations people with disabilities may have in finding a job.

We believe the social media industry has a pivotal role in high lighting job opportunities and creative employment solutions for employers which increase the vision and scope of supporting work for the disabled on a 2-3 hr basis or longer as confidence and experience grows.

This leads into promoting and crowd funding for the latest technologies being developed overseas and within New Zealand to equip our fellow citizens bringing hope and building community empathy for those battling huge obstacles to employment.

Encouraging investment into people rather than just innate objects will reap huge benefits for all of us in our society and businesses.

Examples of these include..

  • ReWalk: Stand up to disability – The ReWalk exoskeleton system enables people with spinal cord injuries to walk upright again. Its mission is to give persons with lower limb disabilities an experience that is as close to natural walking as possible. The exoskeleton also enables them to sit, stand and even climb stairs. This Israeli startup is changing the lives of paralysis people worldwide. Today, ReWalk is a large global medical technology firm, providing services to large organizations such as the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Open Sesame: touch-free phone – Can you live a day without your smartphone? Until now some people with disabilities couldn’t experience the benefits of this indispensable tool for navigating modern life. The Sesame phone is the first completely touch-free smartphone, controlled by head movements. It’s designed for people who have limited or no use of their hands, so they’ll also be able to make calls, send text message and engage in social media. This really smart phone gives every person the freedom to enjoy the benefits of mobile technology.
  • Talkitt: Your voice matters – Talkitt is a voice recognition app designed for people that suffer from motor, speech, and language disorders. With the help of this technology they can now easily communicate using their own voice, by translating the unintelligible pronunciation in any language into understandable speech with its innovative voice recognition software. This technology is designed to work on any mobile or wearable device.
  • AbiliSense: Feel what others hear – AbiliSense aims to improve the quality of life of people with hearing disabilities. The technology transforms sound into the sense of feeling, using sensors to detect sounds in the environment and transfers them into alerts – text, images and vibrations – that will get the attention of a deaf person.
  • Paratrek: Hiking Solutions – Paratrek is a tourist venture that aims to make hiking and extreme sports accessible to people with paraplegia by outfitting wheelchairs with accessories that enable them to travel over rough surfaces. The wheelchairs are equipped with oversize wheels, mountain bike-style tires and a wide rod in back for easier pushing.
  • Adopting Accelerating Inclusion in NZ – startup accelerator where companies are focused on finding solutions to the needs of the disabled. The accelerator’s mission is to help tech entrepreneurs who designed projects that improve the quality of life for people with disabilities develop and prosper.

Understanding and attitudes – our question

  1. What would your party do to improve the public’s understanding of disability and their attitudes towards disabled people?

Conservative Party’s answer:

The Conservative Party is dedicated to improving the public’s understanding of disabilities and their attitudes towards disabled people.

This is founded in the very start of life. We are particularly concerned over attitudes relating to ‘screening’ of life and who gets to be born in New Zealand.

Questions need to be asked over the new guidelines covering PGD currently being developed.

  1. How far do we go with pre-birth testing?
  2. What might the consequences be?
  3. Who decides whether to test a baby and in what circumstances?
  4. And what choices are acceptable taking into consideration the cultural, ethical and spiritual consequences.

The Conservative Party believes urgency needs to be given to protect little New Zealanders from the development of PGD – preimplantation genetic diagnosis where testing is being done on babies created outside the mother’s bodies and then only implanting the baby that is wanted while discarding babies that have been created and have disabilities or unmet expectations such as a different sex as a serious misuse of a life.

We do not believe PGD should be permitted in NZ as the risk to the unborn is too high and we question the advocacy or legal protection in place for their lives.

We do not believe that the creation of a child who is genetically matched to a sick brother or sister should be used as a ‘saviour sibling’ this is not a healthy foundation morally of ethically for a child. They are an individual and deserve to be loved and cared for.

We would like to see the Abortion Supervisory Committee replaced with an Ethical committee that would review the views on abortion of all New Zealanders and uphold the current law.

Housing – our question

  1. What would your party do to ensure accessible and affordable housing is available?

The Conservative Party’s  answer:

The Conservative Party is committed to raising the standard of housing in New Zealand using air tight, well insulated homes with heat recovery ventilation systems installed which will improve our housing stock and overall health of residents.

We are investigating projects such as ‘Evolve Housing’ in Australia using the ‘supported living network models,’ that are about creating more choice and control for people with disabilities in where they live and how they are supported in an ethical and sustainable way.

We want to prioritize funds for applications to modify housing requirements to meet the needs of the individual and effective communication between community workers and Government agencies to support changes in circumstances or deterioration of a person’s health.

There are international examples of how to provide 24 hour disability care, like the ALEH village in the Negev. We would like to learn from them and get advice on how they fund the initiatives, and how that can be utilised here.

This is a modern village set up in Israel to provide therapeutic, medical and educational care to Israeli citizens, both children and adults with devastating physical and cognitive disabilities.

“Our vision is love,” Chairman Almoy says “Love this disabled child, He is the purest one. He is the most vulnerable and He never did wrong to anyone.  At the same time He needs to be protected, to be watched, to never be left behind or ignored.”

The center incorporates disabled and nondisabled children with volunteers from prison, soldiers from the army base and executives from various high-tech companies.

Our vision for the Conservative Party is to extend resources across all areas using practical solutions and set goals that are clear and substantial so those in the community will be excited and challenged to invest in worthwhile causes that change lives placing value on life.

For more information on our policies visit www.conservativeparty.org.nz

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