Monday, November 18, 2013

Remits to Unite National Conference and AGM


The Unite Waitemata  AGM passed the following remits to  be sent to  the Unite National Conference and AGM on 25 and 26  November at the Freeman's Bay Community Centre.


Unite calls for minimum wages and benefits to be at the level of a living  income.

Unite Calls for One Year’s Paid Parental Leave.

Unite calls for all carers of their disabled adult family members to have the right to be employed by the state on a living wage.

Unite Calls for Working for Families Tax Credits to be extended to Beneficiary Families.

Unite opposes all benefit sanctions.

Unite opposes compulsory drug tests, compulsory training, working without pay, compulsory childcare and compulsory medical visits for beneficiaries and their families.

Unite opposes work testing of parents, the sick and disabled.

Unite opposes the use of WINZ trained designated doctors to provide alternative diagnoses to the diagnosis provided by the beneficiary’s own doctor.

Unite opposes “income management” for youth.

Unite opposes contracting out WINZ functions  to private  providers.

Unite calls on the Government to create real jobs for those that need them.





President's Report 2013



 Report of President, Janet Robin, to the Unite Waitemata AGM, 8 November 2013
Kia Ora Koutou,
In 2013 the attacks on welfare continued.
The Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill, was passed in April and came into effect in July.  Previous benefits were collapsed into three: Job Seeker Support, Sole Parent Support and Supported Living Payment. Most people are expected to look for work including the sick and most sole parents. The only exceptions are those on the Supported Living Payment, and some sole parents but they can be asked for a work plan.

The welfare changes are scary, and a media survey indicated that beneficiaries are now perceived to be the group suffering the most prejudice.
Sanctions are being widely used, throwing many beneficiaries into desperation and destitution, and WINZ is increasingly using private contractors to administer job- seeking activities.

 Many beneficiaries are forced to do these activities, which can include to doing slave labour for private companies.  This can include grandparents, those who already have jobs, the mentally ill, and mothers with babies.
Job seeking requirements and   the threat of punitive sanctions are creating enormous anxiety for many beneficiaries.

WINZ case officers are acting with increasing disrespect and apparent arbitrary cruelty.  It is commonplace to refuse food grants even when the beneficiary is hungry, and entitled to one.

In November 2012 I wrote a submission opposing the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill.

At the Unite National AGM in November 2012, we presented a remit that Unite ask the CTU to call a National Stop Work meeting against the welfare reforms.  An amended remit was passed asking the CTU to call a National Day of Action against the welfare reforms. Our remit opposing the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement was passed.

In December 2012 we held a protest to "Stop Paula's War on the Poor" outside the Mt Albert Baptist Church, where Paula Bennett was speaking at the invitation of National M.P. Melissa Lee.

In February 2013 an invited speaker gave us a talk about the way Dr Bratt, the Principal Medical Adviser  of WINZ , is training designated doctors and regional health and disability advisors,  how to deny benefits to people.

In late 2012 and early 2013 our Vice President Ivan Sharma gathered support for a Day of Action against the sale of State Housing, which was held in April 2013.
 He created a facebook  event page; our members handed out leaflets, and I issued a press statement. Ivan and Bob attended Tamaki Housing Action Group meetings to co-ordinate plans for the day.
 We held a mock auction of the office of National Party MP Melissa Lee. We were supported by a number of groups and individuals including AAAP. Afterwards we protested outside some state houses in Haverstock Rd, which had already been sold. We acted in solidarity with the Tamaki Housing Action Group who held a protest in Glen Innes against developers on the same day.  Our protest was filmed by Maori Television and appeared on Te Kaea that night.

On May Day, 1st May, we attended a picket outside MacDonalds Queen St, which was organised by Unite. On the same day National introduced Youth Rates
for  starting- out 16 -17 year olds, trainees from 16-19 years,  and  adult 18 -19  year  old workers who had been on a benefit in the previous 6 months.

In June Unite Waitemata and Auckland Action Against Poverty protested in the evening outside a public meeting held by Paula Bennett at her office entitled " Safer Communities.' 

In July, the new benefit categories came into effect.
We attended a protest  in support of  beggars' rights, outside Smith and Caughey's in Queen St. This protest had been called because Smith and Caughey's,  and some Council members and organisations  including Mike Lee, and the Heart of Auckland, were calling for restrictions on beggar's rights to beg.

Hone Harawira was trying to introduce a Feed the Kids Bill into Parliament about this time.  National later replaced this with one providing milk  and
weet-bix breakfasts in low- decile schools.

In August we held an evening protest outside Paula Bennett's office where she held another public meeting.  We created a facebook event, leafletted, and I promoted it on our blog: waitemataunite.blogspot.co.nz.
I wrote an updated flyer "Why You Should Join Unite" which we printed and distributed .  I also put it onto our blog.
Dave Bedggood was interviewed on Radio Waatea about the protest and the welfare changes.
I wrote a press statement against the proposed new Child Protection Laws.

In September I helped out at the Impact-on the spot advocacy- organised by the Auckland Action Against Poverty at New Lynn WINZ.  Some of our members attended.

In October I wrote a leaflet entitled "How to get WINZ help for Sickness and Disability".  Keith and others have been distributing it.  I put it onto our blog as well as some information about the Health and Disability Panel, who advised on the welfare reforms.  I've included information about the Bio Psycho Social  "work is good for you " ("arbeit macht frei ") approach, which has been imported from the UK to New Zealand.

Our blog:  waitemataunite.blogspot.co.nz has had 31,634 page views since it started. Our Facebook group Waitemata Unite has 172 members, our Unite Waitemata  organiser page has 540  Friends , and our Unite Waitemata Community Page has 90 members.

We are doing more advocacy and peer support with some success.  Sometimes this leads to people coming to our meetings or joining up.  People are contacting me through our facebook pages and using our unitewaitemata@gmail.com address.


In October Ivan and I met with the President of Unite, Gerard Heihir, to see if we we can work together to promote beneficiary rights, and recruit and organise beneficiaries. One possibility was puting  our details on the Unite website.

Most of our members received membership cards this year, for the first time.






Thursday, October 31, 2013

AUSTERITY KILLS


If you need scientific evidence that austerity kills it can be found in the 13th April 2013 issue of New Scientist The title of the relevant article is "Austerity's Toxic Legacy: The stress of recession may trigger gene changes that threaten the health of generations" The subtitle summarises the views of medical researchers working in  the field. Here are some quotes from the article: The March 2013 issue of The Lancet reveals that "suicides in Europe have soared since the financial crash in 2008, with 1000 extra deaths in England alone by 2010. Like wise, the incidence of mental disorders has increased in countries worst hit by the debt crisis..." "A study as far back as 1979 ... showed that in the UK between 1936 and 1976 deaths from heart disease began to rise between two and three years after periods of high unemployment, and continued for a decade. A 2006 study in the Netherlands covering the years 1815 to 2000 showed that generations born during recessions have abnormally high rates of early death."

Friday, October 11, 2013

Rape, Poverty and Prostitution . A Woman Shares her Story


Rape, Poverty and Prostitution.
A  Woman  Shares Her Story.


"Each and every time I have been to WINZ for assistence I have been treated as if I were driving at some illigitimate scheme to fraudulantly steal for some made up emergency. Each cent I spent was scrutinised and commented on. Apparently a person is stupid if they can't support a family of four on one hundred and fifty dollars a week, year in and year out. A budget advisor must be seen to insist that blood can be got out of stones"

"Unable to stand this poverty it wasn't very long before I let strangers suck on my tits and pay me for sex."
"Not one of the girls I worked with were from a happy life and every one of them was supplementing their benefit"


Rape

Apart from being raped by my father I was raped by five other men, not to mention the blokes who thought it their right to take me when I was too drunk to know let alone give consent or withold it. The first time it happened I was picked up by this handsome older guy when I was maybe fourteen. He drove me to the beach and just took me. I was so shocked that I just let him. I was not even present in a way. I don't recall feeling anything accept disgust. I knew fighting him was a stupid idea as I would not win and I did not want to make him mad.

Why did I get in his car? I had seen him driving about the neighbourhood a lot and I liked the attention he gave me. I thought he might take me into his heart, under his wing. I thought he might like me, care. I never saw him again. I went home and began peeling the potatoes for mum as usual. I didn't think about it. It was just another blunted experience that I felt I brought on for myself. That was the beginning of the pattern of sexually humiliating circumstances I seemed complicit in.

Like I have said there were plenty of local boys who took their turns with me one after the other, goading each other along. I'm not sure what to call that experience. I got into the car with these boys. I 'let' them, but it was not what I wanted for myself. I again thought they would like me. I thought they would want me in their group, that they would make me their friend, that I would belong to their group. Foolish. I was foolish. I feel so sad for myself then. How utterly needy I was to go to the lengths I did to be liked. It did not get me liked. I was hated by all the girls then and the boys of course had no respect but they got plenty of respect from each other for their degradation of a young woman.

The worst rape happened when I was seventeen. I was walking home from working at the Village Nest Restaurant late at night. A man in his thirties, I guess, pulled over to give me a lift home. He seemed safe enough and was really friendly. He was driving a seventies holden, cream, tidy, clean. He had dark hair and his demeanour turned dark very quickly as he took the opposite highway to my house. I sat there petrified at what this guy might do. I said nothing at all. I froze and when he stopped he took my frozen body and emptied himself into me on the back seat.

I am not sure if I even breathed. He told me to keep quiet and that he would take me home after he was finished. I think I avoided serious danger by keeping quiet and not fighting. He was so much bigger than me and I couldn't run as fast as he could drive and I did not want him to use the force he could wield  with the large spanner in the back with us. He kept his word and brought me
home. I went to bed and said nothing to anyone. I got in the car after all. Surely it was my own fault and who would believe me anyway.

By that time I was beginning to drink severely. The restaurant closed and I went to Wellington to find work and hopefully start a new life. Oh dear. You don't get a start a new life with the kind of baggage I had, not without lots of pain. I ended up at Aspell house trying to get a handle on my alcoholism. I must have been followed about by angels who dragged my but off roads and incarnated drivers to keep me from dying on the road many times.

I managed some sobriety but I went back to my mother's house brainwashed now with a determination not to drink but I was in no way healed and I was not any closer to being loved or belonging in my family either. I was depressed a lot of the time and It did not take long before I found more boys to give myself to – so that they might like me. My future husband was one. We had nothing in common but I got pregnant right about the time he had decided after couple of dates that I was not the kind of girl he wanted.
Poverty
                                                  
This is where poverty secured its  seat next to me and it stayed like an unwanted companion who stole from me and hurt me and my son and the children I was yet to have for the next two decades of my life. Capitalism depends on the fact that social policy makers devise systems to ensure that twenty five percent of the population is trapped into poverty. Only the very lucky escape the lower class. I was studying for a social work degree when I learned this. It was the last straw for me. Learning that the powers that be knew the painful sentence they were inflicting on the slavers for minimum wage sunk my soul into the pits of despair. Not only was my own family cruel and blinded by the blinkers they put on with their own hand but the rulers of the land did not care either.

Poverty means being financially excluded  from society in so many ways. I had few possesions and only ever had enough to buy the most basic food. I have spent a large portion of my life in the kitchen this way, scraping up baking and building meals on a hungry sad stomach. Countless are the days I spent crying at the bench when others with more wealth and support would have brought their tea, or had someone bring them a meal.

Accident compensation came through for me but ten thousand dollars doesn't last very long and soon enough I was back to scraps most of the time. Back to scraps means that clothing and shoes can only be cheap and bought on layby at the expence of the grocery list. Back to scraps means that week by week I turned to a scrap myself as scrapings of me were shaved off as the days wore on. Bit by bit I became less and less human. Week by week I deserved less and less. Day by day I mourned in my rags and grew guilt and shame like a mould about my existence. How dare I need? How dare I exist? How rotten of me to have brought a child into the world whom I could not support. How evil of me to subject my son to this feeling that underscored each of his requests for any toy or a treat or a wish beyond the trappings of the poor.

It all made me so sick. I threw up my food. I gave proper expression  to the disgust that was mine about everything. Finally I started smoking again and drinking again. Ridiculous. Horrible. I could not face life any other way anymore. I can hear the sound of the people and their logical opinion. How I deserve to suffer if I made the choice to waste my money on these addictions. I can hear the vehemence of people who have no clue of what it is to be so full to billowing inside that one wants truly, just to die. I can hear the opinion of all those who think they have the answers to fools like me. I can hear them all like a deafening roar that would bowl me over and have me insignificantised in half a second.

The society I live in does not like bludgers and I have been labeled as such by virtue of the fact I am on a benefit. Each day of my life that stigma and hatred follows me about. It lives in the start up of my day. The bad taste of my dependency and the scorn from decades belonging to it puts its teeth into my being before I am out of my bed. Patronising others take overt stares at me out of seventy, thirty, fourty, fifty thousand dollar vehicles. Rancid remarks get called out of radios and stern speeches about what to do with the likes of me are paid for and spoken all over the country. Propaganda is spilled out on the news to make sure that people get the 'truth' about all of us lazy beneficiaries who can't lift a damn finger to help themselves.

Each and every time I have been to WINZ for assistance I have been treated as if I were driving at some illegitimate scheme to fraudulently steal for some made up emergency. Each cent I spent was scrutinised and commented on. Apparently a person is stupid if they can't support a family of four on one hundred and fifty dollars a week, year in and year out. A budget advisor must be seen to insist that blood can be got out of stones. When I say one hundred and fifty dollars to support a family of four I mean this is the allowance for food, clothing, shoes, school needs, and entertainment...oh no, that is superfluous and should be withheld and scorned and disallowed if one wants to eat.

Unable to stand this poverty it wasn't very long before I let strangers suck on my tits and pay me for sex. This bought my kids shoes and presents and it paid for my habits. Habits which intensified as the years went by. Never yet then, had I found a cure for the plague I had to endure
of too much emotion. All treatments were short lived and had no substance either. Thinking straight ain't no match for feeling like your guts has been torn away. Thinking straight can't stand for very long when blown at by emotions billowing at hurricane speed inside. This pain kills.
I was doing all I could to survive. There were no other viable options open to me at the time.


I don't mind saying either that it seems sheer luck that I found any help that has substance. Right now in the world there are plenty of non viable answers being touted as the truth and the light. Funny only the practitioners of this cure speak this way of their cognitive inventions. Survivors form blogs and support groups for those further traumatised by these lies passed as a cure. Survivors though have a very quiet voice in comparison to the clinical advisors who write these think and contain programmes. It is a travesty.


Prostitution

Working as a sex slave I learned a lot about men and women. Husbands bought me and had me knocking them against the headboard next to photos of their wives and children who would be coming home in the afternoon. Executives bought me on their credit card as an entertainment expense on their work accounts. Old men bought me. Young men bought me. I slept with creeps because I needed the money. Find me a prostitute that says she loves this sleeping with wide, smelly, creepy mean men. You wont find her. You will find those 'happy hookers' giving it to gentlemen in fancy rooms for much more than seventy dollars an hour. Escort agencies who rent out needy girls get the other seventy dollars the 'gentlemen' pays for their trouble.

Not one of the girls I worked with were from a happy life and every one of them was supplementing their benefit. Each of them a criminal in the eyes of the law. Women should declare all of their income on a benefit you see, even if it is from whoring. After your first john WINZ would give you seventy cents less in every dollar. If the government had their way this job would be done for three dollars and seventy cents an hour or you'd just screw seven more of them and get off the benefit all together. Make no mistake. Very few of the working girls in these brothels are in it because they love it and very few are not on some kind of benefit or student allowance.

I am supposed to be quiet about this truth. We wouldn't want WINZ investigators stinging the brothels and stealing all of their workers to prison and criminal records of fraud and debt would we? Personally, I doubt that WINZ would go there. It is too taboo. Too many uncomfortable conversations would need to be had if this issue were to be made public. The public discussion too ugly. The true hateful nature of people would be easily seen. The women and girls would be judged and near burned at the steak. No shame at all though on any of the men or the state. Many of the people who care would be ostracised. Society has not come as far as we would like to believe.

 I gave in to prostitution after I knew I could not keep any job. I'd always end up too broken down. No boss wants a worker having a mental breakdown on their premises and no boss really wants to hear what it is about, much less, support a crying woman who can't cope with keeping even a part time job. Being a prostitute, at least I got paid good money for my troubles and the money helped me fill my cupboards and buy me the drink I needed to cope. I look back in horror and writing about this time in my life put me in the most sad and hateful mood all week. I remember the whirling hole there was inside me on the days the kids were with their dad. I felt as if I was going to be sucked along and lifted off my feet by the force of the silent pain in my body.

Raped Again

I would sink down a bottle of cheap red wine in half an hour just to anchor myself. The
weekends were always the worst for me because that is when the kids were at their dad's. It is easy to get raped when you are drunk. One night two men brought me to my house and pinned me down on my bed. Each of them took their turn whilst I kept yelling at them to stop. The last time I was raped was by a regular client. I had fallen asleep drunk as was he. I woke up with him helping himself to seconds, maybe thirds. He was holding me open by the thighs at the end of his bed. I was bruised where his fingers were and sore inside.

That night walking home I told the police I had been raped. They did not believe me and took me to John's place. He gave me a beta blocker and put me to bed. Why would I press the issue with the law? They knew me for a drunk by now and I was in my rapist's house by choice. 

I stopped drinking for a while after that and reduced my clientele. I had lost my courage. That was eight years ago now. I was seriously affected by that rape. It tipped me over the edge. I laid around crying for days afterwards and it took me weeks to begin to tolerate my life.

I was such an awful mess. My poor children. My poor eldest son. I was by no means a good mother for him especially. How intensely difficult it was for him. I can't see him now without feeling shame for the person I was... 



Do you have a story to tell?  
Email your story to :  unitewaitemata@gmail.com  

Or- You can tell your story  in the comments below this story.
Or- you can tell your story in the comments to the Share Your Stories Post.
 See Left  Column of Blog for How to do this.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

How to get WINZ Support for Sickness or Disability


How to get WINZ Support for Sickness or Disability 

Make Sure Your Doctor Understands Your Health Needs

  • Ask if the doctor thinks that being on a benefit is an addiction and that work is the cure. If they say “yes” and this is a new doctor, then you need another doctor!  But if you need a Work Capacity Certificate, and the doctor has signed your certificates before, you might need to keep the same one. Otherwise WINZ might send you to a designated doctor. Dr David Bratt, WINZ’s Principal Medical Advisor, is spreading false ideas about “benefit addiction”.  There is no sound evidence for it, and it has been discredited in the UK. Let your doctor know this; and remind him or her that their first duty is towards your health, and to do you no harm.
  • If you need a Supported Living Payment, your doctor needs to verify that your illness or disability will last for more than two years; unless you are blind or are expected to die within two years.
  • If you are sick or disabled, but are on Job Seeker Support, make sure your doctor helps you to get enough time off work.  This might mean that you should do no work, or only the hours that suit you. Make sure your doctor understands how sick you are.  Write down all your symptoms beforehand.

What to do if WINZ wants you to see a Designated Doctor

  • Ask to see a second doctor you have chosen yourself, who has expertise about your condition.
  • If WINZ rejects your choice, ask for a large list of designated doctors to choose from.
  • Insist that the doctor has qualifications that match your condition.
  • Do not take the first doctor that WINZ suggests!
  • Do not take a doctor because they are the closest!
  • Do not take a doctor because WINZ offers you free transport there!  
  • Get some information about the doctors and their reputations before choosing. 
  • Unite Waitemata will help you!

What to do if you see a Designated Doctor

  • Take a witness or support person!  This is very important!!!
        The witness could be a friend, family member, advocate or somebody from Unite Waitemata.
  • Take written notes or record the session on your phone, digital recorder, or tape recorder.  You or your witness can do this. Note how long the interview lasts.
  • Your designated doctor should treat you with respect.
  • They should explain the purpose of the interview and what will happen.
  • They should ask for your consent to proceed.  
  • They should ask you and give you time to explain your own view of how you are affected by your condition.
  • They should have enough information and expertise to make an assessment.
Ask if they have read the reports from your doctor and your other specialists. Ask what their expertise is about your illness or disability.
If the doctor does not have enough evidence or skill to make an assessment, they should not make it.
If the doctor does not follow correct procedure, they may breach the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights.

  • You can complain to the Health and Disability Commissioner about breaches of procedure.  
Your designated doctor has been trained by WINZ to believe that being on a benefit is an addiction. She or he is being paid by WINZ.  So they are not independent. However they must follow medical ethics. If a doctor says you are fit to work, and this risks harming your heath, then your doctor has breached medical ethics.  
  • You could complain to the Medical Council about breaches of medical ethics.
  • You can make a complaint to WINZ about the doctor’s behaviour.

 How to Challenge WINZ Decisions

·       You can apply in writing for a Medical Appeal of any decision made by WINZ regarding your health or disability.
·       You can apply for a Medical Appeal of any WINZ decision based on a designated doctor’s advice. If the doctor did not have sufficient information or expertise, or if their decision could harm your health, these are grounds for appeal.
·       You can also apply for a Medical Appeal of any WINZ decision based on the advice of Regional Health Advisors, and Regional Disability Advisors.  These advisors lack the expertise to assess complex medical cases.  Many are nurses, teachers and social workers. There are no doctors or psychiatrists.
·       Ask WINZ about the qualifications of the person who advised on your case.

What to do at a Medical Appeals Board.
Since Medical Appeals Board members are paid by WINZ they are not independent. Some of them are designated doctors.
  • Ask that the Board members have expertise in your illness or disability.  
  •  Prepare a written case. 
  • Bring as much evidence as you can from supporting medical professionals.  
  • Take a witness, support person or Unite Waitemata member.

What Else Can you Do?
If your case goes to the High Court, we will help you find a good, cheap or free lawyer.
Another option is to hold a protest at WINZ and publicise your case.
Sometimes direct action wins when other channels don’t.

Why is WINZ Ignoring our Health Needs?
WINZ is targeting the sick and disabled, and single parents, as we are their biggest expense.  It plans to save one and a half billion dollars by getting us off benefits.  WINZ wants to make the sick and disabled compete for scarce jobs, or even work for nothing in “job training” schemes - so employers can bring down wages and conditions, and increase their profits.  WINZ is offering thousands of dollars to private contractors to help make this happen. This is an attack upon workers as well as beneficiaries! We all need to Unite! against these attacks !




Join your Union!   Join Unite Waitemata!

Unite Waitemata is a branch of the Unite! Union. Unite is a union for low paid workers, unemployed and  beneficiaries. We will attend WINZ appointments, designated doctor appointments, and Medical Appeals Board Hearings with you.  We are protesting the welfare changes and we will let people know what is happening!  We will organise a protest about what is happening to you and others like you.

Tell us your stories! Get involved!  Together we are strong!
Issued by Unite Waitemata   0272800080;   (09) 8369104.
Facebook : Unite Waitemata.



 

Who are The Health and Disability Panel and Who are Behind it? Part One


This article was contributed by a supporter of  Waitemata Unite . 
The views and  assessments expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of our branch.


The Health and Disability  Panel  helped set the agenda for the welfare reforms. 

Who are Behind It? 

The Health and Disability Panel's approach  reflects the  largely discredited    "illness is all in your head" "work will set you free"  Bio -Psycho- Social  approach  imported from the UK by  by  Mansel Aylward and Dame Carol Back.
Dame Carol Black 


Mansel Aylward was paid by the convicted fraudulent US insurance company Unum, to lend academic credibility to this fraudulent supposedly "expert" medical viewpoint.

Mansel Aylward

http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2012/09/15/unumdwpatos-scandal-transcript-prof-sir-mansel-aylward-defends-his-record-makes-pledge-when-confronted-by-black-triangle-and-dpac-at-ifdm2012/



Mansel Aylward's  "Bio-Psycho-  Social" ideology  affects  the views   the Health and Disability Panel; and  WINZ officials such as  Dr David Bratt, WINZ Principal Medical Advisor (with his "work addiction" mantra) and his crew of  regional advisors and   designated doctors.  Ordinary case officers don't stand a chance  against all these supposed 'experts."  So they do what they are told, rather  than  believing  the beneficiary's real doctor.

Dr David Bratt

The  following article  has been sent to us by a supporter. Its  views are those of its author. It  gives some background information as to who the members of this panel are; and an analysis of  the purpose of the panel. Whilst some of the members of the  panel do seem to be genuine representatives of the disabled community, and/or are health professionals sincerely interested in helping people; nevertheless the overall impact of the panel has been to  hurt sick and disabled people with punitive welfare cuts.



Who Are the Members of the Health and Disability Panel?

They are:
Dr David Beaumont, Dr David Chaplow, Dr Ben Gray, Dr Sandra Hicks,  Robyn Hunt,
Dr Bryn Jones,  Helen Locket, Professor kathryn MacPherson, Janice Muller, Geoff Robinson,
Dr Tane Taylor, Charmayne Te Nana Williams and Puti Umaga.


Some revealing details about the Health and Disability Panel members.

Part One:
Dr David Baumont, Dr David Chaplow, Dr Ben Gray,
 Dr Sandra Hicks, Robyn Hunt and Bryn Jones.




Dr David Beaumont



1). Dr David Beaumont – MedicalDirector/CEO at‘Fit for Work Ltd’,‘
Pathways to Work Ltd ’and‘OHS New Zealand Ltd’, also formerly at ATOS ORIGIN HEALTHCARE in the UK (the controversial assessor for the DWP there)
Dr David Beaumont on LinkedIn:
http://nz.linkedin.com/pub/david-beaumont/2a/780/943
Past:
Regional Consultant Occupational Physician at Atos Origin Healthcare.
Websites disclosing Dr Beaumont’s businesses and other involvements:
http://www.fitforwork.co.nz/team http://www.gpcme.co.nz/speakers/speakerbeaumonttext_2011_south.php
http://www.pathwaystowork.co.nz/dr-david-beaumonts-message-to-doctors-conference-medical-certification- can-be-fraught-with-problems-for-gps
Extract:
Workers who take sick leave during a period of illness or injury normally see their GP to provide medical certification explaining their absence from work and assuring sick leave.This can create a situation where doctors feel pressured to extend work absences because they feel that this is best for the patient. There can be a negative impact on the relationship between doctor and patient where a patient perceives that the GP is not being supportive by advocating for continuing sick leave.
Dr Beaumont referred to the research indicating that doctors do not see themselves in the role of advocating for a prompt return to work, despite the consistent evidence that helping people back to work is most beneficial for their health in the long term.
Relating this issue to the New Zealand context, Dr Beaumont illustrated the recent health reforms in the United Kingdom:
...doctors there now issue a fit note, detailing the capacities that allow a patient to return to work, while the current New Zealand model certifies ongoing disability – effectively saying that the patient is unfit for any level of work.”



Re Dr Beaumont’s‘career’ and his former employer ATOS Healthcare:
New Zealand: ‘British-style work tests concern’- tests were developed partially work of disability expert Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, 12Jan, 2013:  http://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/tag/new-zealand/
Work capability assessments decision follows years of criticism, The Guardian, 22 July 2013: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jul/22/work-capability-assessments-criticism
“Disabled benefits claimants test: Atos reports found 'unacceptably poor'”,The Guardian,22July2013:
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jul/22/disabled-benefits-claimants-test-atos

Comments:
Dr David Beaumont will certainly have played a senior role on the Health and Disability
Panel, given his background and “expertise” from the UK. As he himself runs his‘Pathways to Work’business, focusing on “integrated rehabilitation”of sick and disabled back into the
workforce, he naturally has  a vested interest in the outsourcing and privatisation of welfare related services!
He has already been advising ACC and the Ministry of Social Development in other capacities, and he  naturally emphasizes the same philosophy about health, disability and the benefits of paid work, as Professor Mansel Aylward does. Being well known to leading MSD staff members and Paula Bennett, he will have been appointed to the Panel with knowledge of all those aspects on mind.


Dr David Chaplow
2). Dr David Chaplow- Forensic Psychiatrist and former Director for Mental Health at the Ministry of Health
Dr Chaplow on LinkedIn:
http://nz.linkedin.com/pub/david-chaplow/35/115/126
‘Psychiatrist defends use of electric shock therapy’, Rotorua Daily Post, 18Aug. 2006
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/rotorua-daily-post/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503438&objectid=10943550
“Shock treatment use has plummeted nationally but that's no reason to believe it's a"fringe"method", a leading psychiatrist says."
"Ministry of Health director of mental health Dr David Chaplow said there had been decline in use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) nationally but that did not make the increasing use among Rotorua and Taupo people wrong.
He said the ministry looked at the use of ECT about two years ago and found it was a valuable treatment”.
Involvement of Dr David Chaplow in  Board hearings”, Scoop, 21July 2004
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0407/S00228/involvement-of-dr-david-chaplow-in-board-hearings.htm
"The Solicitor-General’ s opinion is that the participation of Dr Chaplow in the decision-making process of the  Parole Board was not authorised by the Parole Act 2002 and that offenders should be offered a hearing if they felt aggrieved by Dr Chaplow’ s participation.”

Secret Probe of Hutt Mental Health Services”;Kiwikileaks,01Sept.2011
http://transparencynz.blogspot.co.nz/2011/09/secret-probe-of-hutt-mental-health.html
“Leaked documents show the Health Ministry's mental health director ,David Chaplow, ordered the investigation in June."There are two main areas of concern– the leadership of the mental health services, and a number of clinical issues presenting as `complaints"which may relate to systemic or leadership issues.
‘From the CEO’, http://intl-apy.sagepub.com/content/16/3/225.extract
“...networking of mental-health related NGOs by sharing information ..to align work programs "
‘Office of the Director of MentalHealth’AnnualReport2010,
http://www.nzdoctor.co.nz/media/1511993/odmh-ar10-4oct.pdf
“Combat depression and its consequences”:04April2011:
http://www.baptist.org.nz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2032:combat-depression-and-its- consequences&catid=:general-opinion&Itemid=246
“David Chaplow,head of Mental Health NewZealand,worships with Wellington Central Baptist. He has confidence in the transformative power of the gospel. David identifies four things as basic human needs, and where personal faith and participation in the life of the church meet all of those needs.
– Rodney Macann, National Leader”
Comments:
Dr David Chaplow will have been appointed to the Panel given his expertise in forensic psychiatry, to advise on mental illness and possibly how he has been making efforts to rehabilitate some of those suffering from it into the community, in some cases with prospects to take up work activities. As former Director of Mental Health he should be well informed about the many issues and failings in the mental health system, and one wonders, how he could agree on the recommendations to Minister Paula Bennett and Cabinet, to push ahead with the proposed welfare reforms, to also push mental health sufferers into paid, open employment.
Dr Chaplow relies on his Baptist faith to heal patients, but  also believes in shock therapy.  One dares to ask: would he use electro shock therapy to heal beneficiaries of "benefit addiction?" Although hopefully this is unlikely, Dr Chaplow is likely to bring conservative values and a strong work ethic very compatible with the  Paula Bennett's intentions.
                     

Dr Ben Gray
3.) Dr Ben Gray - Senior Lecturer, Primary Health Care and General Practice, University of Otago, Wellington
“Ben Gray joined the Department in 2006 as a senior lecturer in General Practice. He is an Otago graduate from the first class at the Wellington Clinical School. He has worked as a GP for the past 25 years first in Waitara Taranaki and most recently at Newtown Union Health Service (NUHS).”
http://nz.linkedin.com/pub/dir/Ben/Gray
Doctors told to prescribe work ethic”,Stuff.Co,14Aug.2013:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/9037653/Doctors-told-to-prescribe-work-ethic
“But health and disability panel member Ben Gray, a GP and senior lecturer at Otago University's Wellington School of Medicine, said there was no doubt that the physical and mental health benefits of working were huge.
"On one level, finding them a job is not our job. But our ability to manage some of the problems that are the barriers to why they can't get jobs are our core business.

"If someone can't get a job because they are stoned all the time, then I should be talking to them about what we can do about their addiction."
International research has shown consequences from being out of work include poorer mental and physical health, increased rates of mortality, and risk of cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and respiratory infections.
It was hoped that more government funding would accompany the shift towards working more closely with the
ministry,DrGraysaid.”

Welfare now has health warning”,NZ Herald,16 July 2013:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=10898616
“A former doctor at Wellington's Newtown Union Health Servicewho represented general practitioners on an advisory panel that drew up the new policy, Dr Ben Gray, said he was "pleasantly surprised" and he was happy to sign up to the emphasis on "work is good for health".
“"That is very solid science," he said. "So the main point of the new form is to get away from being a sickness benefit form. It's to be a descriptor of what the barriers to work are."”
More eyes on patient notes’,NZDoctor,09March2011:
http://www.nzdoctor.co.nz/in-print/2011/march-2011/09-march-2011/more-eyes-on-patient-notes.aspx
(search with Google or so, if link does not lead to story)
“Third parties should have access to patient notes to monitor how GPs fill out"fit notes"for beneficiaries, says a Government working group. "(The Welfare Working Group.)
“NZMA chair and Napier GP Pete Foley holds grave concerns."
“Dr Foley supports the philosophical change behind scrapping all the benefit categories in favour of a single jobseeker payment, but says there will still be a category of people for whom work will never be an option.
Wellington GP and researcher Ben Gray agrees, and points out other groups, such as those being released from prison into the community, have the will to work but employers won't touch them.
Dr Gray has long suggested the benefit categories be changed and is pleased to see this recommendation from the working group. "The current system is completely stupid. The categories are arbitrary," he says.”

Doctor laments Newtown health cuts, The Wellingtonian, Stuff.co, 27 Sept. 2012:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/local-papers/the-wellingtonian/7734691/Doctor-laments-Newtown- health-cuts “Some of Wellington's poorest and neediest people have been hit hardest by health board cuts to general practices,according to one doctor.
The Capital and Coast District Health Board made cuts of $5.6million to its primary health funding in the past two years, an Official Information Act report reveals.
That included a $300,000 cut to Newtown Union Health Service last year and another $274,000 this year, 8 per cent of the service's revenue. Newtown Union doctor Ben Gray delivered a letter to the board on June 8 saying that the cut was out of proportion with the $40 million the board needed to save.”
http://www.nzdoctor.co.nz/in-print/2011/november-2011/30-november-2011/$300k-woes-haunt-newtown- union.aspx
(search per Google or so for article, if link does not connect)

Dr Gray says, without some political direction, the DHB will be under deficit pressure again next year and taking more savings out of primary care.

Comments:
Dr Gray has repeatedly been quoted in the media as a clear supporter of welfare reforms of the kind now implemented. He appears to also support the Mansel Aylward taught philosophy about the“health benefits of work”.  No surprise then that he was selected to be on the Health and Disability Panel. The  cuts to funding for his practice could have caused him to doubt his support of the reforms, but perhaps  he hopes that by "assisting" beneficiaries into work he might get more funding.


 Dr Sandra Hicks
4). Dr Sandra Hicks – GP(MB.ChB.,Dip.Obst.)andNZMAboardmember
DetailsaboutSandraHicksonLinkedIn- andtheNZMAwebsite:
http://nz.linkedin.com/pub/dr-sandra-hicks/1b/974/29a http://www.nzma.org.nz/node/30
‘Membership of the National Information Clinical Leadership Group’, IT Health Board
http://ithealthboard.health.nz/who-we-work/national-information-clinical-leadership-group/membership

SandraHicks’profile on the website of her practice in Christchurch:
http://www.halswellhealth.co.nz/staff/
“Sandra Hicks has worked in the community in General Practice for 20 years and before that in Family Planning. Sandra has a special interest in women and children's health. She also does minor surgery such as removing suspicious moles or early skin cancers and is experienced in the insertion of IUD's (intra-uterine contraceptive devices). She is interested in the management of General Practices and the way the computer system functions. Sandra has been involved in the local and national administration of general practice through the College of GP's, the IPA Council and the board of Pegasus and has been on a number of committees which have strengthened the relationship between the hospital and general practice. For the last three years Sandra has been on the Board of the New Zealand Medical Association. She enjoys the longterm relationship with families and individuals that is possible in general practice.”

Pegasus Health Maori Health Workforce Scholarships, Scoop – Health,05Aug.2004: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE0408/S00024/pegasus-health-maori-health-workforce-scholarships.htm
"“Improving Maori health by supporting the development of the Maori health workforce is a top priority for Pegasus Health”says Pegasus Health Chair, Dr Sandra Hicks.”
Pegasus Health (Charitable) Ltd, Canterbury, website:
http://www.pegasus.health.nz/
“Pegasus Health was founded in 1992 when a group of Christchurch general practitioners met to see how they could use the‘health reforms’of the time to get a better deal for the local community. The early Pegasus pioneers brought together the majority of Christchurch GPs to form an Independent Practitioner Association (IPA) with a strong clinical education foundation and a focus on reducing wastage on unnecessary laboratory tests and prescriptions.”
“In March 2013 Pegasus Health will amalgamate with Partnership Health Canterbury PHO todeliverPHO services across Canterbury, Selwyn and Waimakariri districts.”
Comments:
Dr Sandra Hicks appears to have been chosen to sit on the ‘Health and DisabilityPanel’ to firstly represent the New Zealand Medical Association(NZMA).She also has expertise in healt information technologysystems. Her involvement with the‘Health Information Governance Expert Advisory Group’ (HIGEAG) will have been considered useful,as the government intends to increase information sharing about sick and disabled beneficiaries between health  providers and MSD.
As she was also board member at ‘Pegasus Health’,who apparently adapted andworked well under former health reforms by an earlier National led government(from1992on),
she will have been assumed to be favourable to the current reforms.

                         
Robyn Hunt
5). Robyn Hunt – CompanyDirector,‘Acc Ease Limited’and DisabilityAdvocate RobynHuntonLinkedIn:
http://nz.linkedin.com/pub/dir/Robyn/Hunt
“Current: Co-manager at Disability Clothesline, Owner at AccEase Limited
Past:
Board member at New Zealand Guidelines Group, Commissioner at New Zealand Human Rights Commission,
Member at Virtual Group”
Robyn Hunt: http://disabilityclothesline.org.nz/
"The disability clothesline project is a way of breaking the silence about violence and abuse, enabling victims to give creative expression to their experiences as they use clothing as a canvas. The disability clothesline project will gather our stories and experience; it will bring the invisible into the light."
“Who we are
The Disability Clothesline is a grassroots disability project run in co-operation with DCAV, the Disability Coalition against Violence. We do not provide disability, family violence or any other services.

The coalition began with DPA and the National Network of Stopping Violence Services, representing disabled people and organisations working to prevent violence. Since then other organisations have joined the informal coalition from both sectors. The project received seed funding by a grant from the Community Assistance Fund.”
“Get involved
We launched this project on November 25, 2009 and we have collected lots of tee shirts, but we are still looking for more.”
“Judges decision leaves disabled with a disturbing message”,‘NZ Catholic’,Oct.2012:
http://www.nzcatholic.org.nz/2012/10/06/judges-decision-leaves-disabled-with-a-disturbing-message/
 “Disability Clothesline co-manager Robyn Hunt said disabled people are not burdens, and, with support, can live meaningful and rewarding lives, even with significant impairments.“Negative social values towards disabled people contribute to decisions like Rosie’ s. Disabled people don’ t need to die that way,” Ms Hunt said.
Robyn Hunt’s business:  http://www.accease.com/
“AccEase is the New Zealand communications company that makes sure your web site, information, communications and engagement are fully accessible.
We pioneered, more than ten years ago, our unique "real world" testing model. Since then our business has grown to include a wider range of services.”
AccEase, Principal Consultants:
http://www.accease.com/about-us/principal-consultants
“Robyn Hunt
As an award-winning journalist and communicator she brings extensive experience in those fields to the creation of readable, accessible web content, and accessible information beyond the web. Robyn is acknowledged as one of NewZealand’s leading experts in the field of disability. She has been honoured for her work in the disability community.”
“She is an innovator who has developed and launched a number of successful media and communications projects. Robyn has run her own consulting, writing and training business, working with the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Before that she worked in policy and management roles as well as a writer and broadcaster.
Robyn has served eight years as a human rights commissioner with responsibility for disability at the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.”
“Qualifications
Robyn has a BA(Hons) and a diploma in public sector management.”
PowerPoint presentations –one example http://unitube.otago.ac.nz/view?m=DrcS39eRY0a


‘DisabilityWorld’, Governance & Legislation; on Robyn Hunt, June– July2000:
http://www.disabilityworld.org/June-July2000/Governance/NewZealand.html
“REFERENCE GROUP, NZ DISABILITYSTRATEGY
Robyn Hunt,Wellington(co-chair):Robyn is the chair of Workbridge board of management and was a disability consultant to the Royal Commission on Social Policy. She has been actively involved with Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) since it began, including terms as regional president and on the national executive.”
Robyn Hunt in ‘Rise’magazine, Ministry for Social Development, March 2009: http://www.msd.govt.nz/documents/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/journals-and- magazines/rise/rise-issue-6-mar-09-part-1.pdf
“That long hard journey started at birth– Robyn was born with cataracts and is vision impaired. In her case, this means she doesn’t drive, she has difficulty reading some material and she doesn’t play sports that require goodvision.
“With just 18 months left as Human Rights Commissioner, Robyn knows exactly what she wants to achieve by then.“I want to see the monitoring process on its way, and a robust and durable and credible process established for the convention. I want to see more disabled people getting involved in the disability community – including young people.”
Comment:
One wonders whether Paula Bennett  spotted the  article about Robyn  in ‘Rise’from the March 2009 edition of the MSD magazine ,when inspecting the article right next to it, introducing Ms Bennett herself  as the “new Minister for Social Development”.
Robyn Hunt is a person with accepted and respected expertise in the disability sector, has been active as a writer, commenter, consultant and innovator, she even served on the Human Rights Commission. She also appears to have an entrepreneurial side to her activities, offering consultancy, audit, assessment and testing services, and training. This covers web based and other communication and information systems for the disability sector.
The latter will make her appeal to the Minister and present government, as any business friendly advocate, who also operates her own business, fits in perfectly with the new policy approach of having MSD head towards outsourcing and contracting services in the community, to deliver what they view as necessary.
Robyn will also have been considered“useful” as a  role model for  the disabled and sick with incapacities, especially those who depend on benefits.
She was well known to the Ministry, having worked with the Ministry of Social Development while “Chair” of the “Workbridge Board of Management”many years ago.
I doubt that Robyn Hunt is fully informed about Mansel Aylward and his controversial interpretation o the  "bio-psycho-social  model".


6). Dr Bryn Jones – GP and former board member at‘Health Hawke’s Bay’
– Te Oranga Hawke’s Bay."
http://www.attn.co.nz/2011/07/25/health-hawke’s-bay-–-te-oranga-hawke’s-bay-new-board-of-directors- announced/
 NationalAdvisoryCouncil,RNZCGP,‘Te Akoranga a Maui Faculty’
http://www.rnzcgp.org.nz/national-advisory-council/
College Maori leader in ministry post, NZ Doctor, 12 June 2013:
http://www.nzdoctor.co.nz/news/2013/june-2013/12/college-maori-leader-in-ministry-post.aspx
(search by Google or else, if link does not work)
“RNZCGP Te Akoranga a Maui chair and National Advisory Council member Bryn Jones has taken a job two days a weekat .. Ministry of Health as an advisor,
and is continuing hiswork as a GP in the accident and medical facility at Hastings Health Centre.”
“Primary Thinking Bryn Jones”, NZ Doctor, 13March 2013:
http://www.nzdoctor.co.nz/orphan-pages/primary-thinking-–-bryn-jones.aspx (try Google or other search if link does not work)
“Hastings GP Bryn Jones, of Ngati Kahungunu ,talks to New Zealand Doctor reporter Virginia McMillan."
Dr Jones:“ it's clear to me there's a much greater awareness of social determinants of health, how they impact on our populations, and equity.”

Comments:
Dr Jones will have been asked to be on the Heath and Disability Panel, for being a GP and hospital doctor on the frontline in primary care in an area with substantive social issues, working with Maori health care and  being a senior administrator for Health Hawker's Bay. As he raised concerns about funding, he is likely to have been one of the less enthusiastic supporters of the welfare reforms as they rolled out. But it's likely he did support them,  hoping for genuine improvements in health and rehabilitation services, that could perhaps bring some better results for some able to return to work, if proper funding would be made available. As a GP he has an interest in working with governments, as  much of their incomes depending on government policies and initiatives.

To Be Continued...
For  further information  about this subject, and  further expression of this viewpoint  please see:
https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/?s=Health+and+Disability+Panel