IHC – helping National abandon vulnerable families

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How could it be that a once-proud organisation like IHC has become such an eager assistant to the National government’s mission to abandon vulnerable families?

IHC does have a proud history of supporting vulnerable New Zealanders, particularly those with intellectual disabilities, to live full, active and productive lives. They have fought hard for acceptance of people with disabilities in all aspects of everyday life from the right of children to an inclusive education at their local public school to work opportunities and “supported independence” in the community for older people.

Many of us, myself included, recall helping out on Saturday mornings going house to house collecting for the IHC annual appeal a few decades back.

In more recent times however, the IHC has become a corporate entity, growing fat on government contracts to provide state services.

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It has increasingly pulled its punches in its criticism of government policies and the failure of successive governments to enforce the rights of children with disabilities.

There is no clearer sign of its new corporate approach to the world than the listing of Rod Deane and his wife as patrons of the organisation. Deane has an awful history as a leading campaigner for the privatisation of state assets in the 1980s and 1990s. He took roles in the public sector to help set the scene for privatisation then took up the role of Chair of the privatised Telecom. You can read some of Deane’s sordid story here.

With that background it’s not surprising to find Accessible Properties – the IHC’s housing arm – eagerly lining up to buy over 1000 state houses in Tauranga.

In other words the IHC is keen to help the government abandon its responsibility for housing low-income families. While many social housing groups do a good job they will never have the capacity or resources to provide quality, affordable homes for everyone who needs them. Only the state is able to do this.

IHC would not support Victorian-era approaches and attitudes to people with disabilities so neither should they support the National government returning housing for low-income families to Victorian times when the only options were charities and churches.

There is a housing crisis for tenants and families on low incomes. New Zealand has faced such crises in the past and the government has stepped in to build large numbers of state rental houses. It must be required to do so again.

If IHC wants to retain public respect and confidence it must join the Salvation Army and Methodist Mission and refuse to help National abandon vulnerable families.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Although I agree with your assessment of Deane’s shameful role in the recent history of NZ it is unfair to use his patronage of IHC in this manner.
    I understand that one of his children was severely disabled and in all probability that is why he supports causes that work for disabled children.

    • nah, while he may have private motivations as well does that excuse him from any responsibility in IHC’s capture?

  2. Hi John
    Richard is right. Rod Deane had a daughter with Down’s Syndrome.
    While I agree his economic ideology has harmed many families – we should recognise his private experience of a having a child with a disability

    • While I agree his economic ideology has harmed many families – we should recognise his private experience of a having a child with a disability

      It’s a shame Deane never understood the harm he has caused to other families – yet his own personal experience has given him some understanding of disabilities.

      Does it really take personal experience for neo-liberals to gain this kind of empathy?

  3. I think the gist of what John Minto is driving at is that IHC has become “corporatised” and in this I expect he is right.

    • All those similar organisations have become commercially focused, and it is business, that now rules their programs, none else.

      • That’s right. You just have to see how IHC’s management is stacked with national party stooges to see that. Its model is solidly corporate. Just have a look at the thousands of employment cases IHC or Idea Services have been involved in, it’s staggering. They’re one of those big NGOs that don’t really have an interest in those in says it represents. There are so many areas IHC could find easy pickings when looking at ways to make the lives of those with intellectual disabilities better but it chooses not to. Instead it pulls all its punches when it comes to saying anything negative about the government. There’s a bit of bluster every now and then when they feel the need to look effective but the people they have are just too lightweight or don’t have the political will to really stick it to government. Minto’s right. By operating the way it does IHC is colluding with the national government in really dealing to one of the most vulnerable groups in society. It is a wholly sickening situation.

  4. So because the IHC have chosen to support an initiative you ideologically oppose, you engage in a personal attack on their patron. Disgraceful. Read the bio you cited. You might learn something.

    • Amos, your ‘spin’ on this is, in itself, disgraceful. We get that you’re a National supporter. But you should also understand why the Left criticise neo-liberals like Rod Deane who are personally responsible for the course New Zealand took post-1984.

      John did not make a “personal attack” on Deane. Those are your words which totally misrepresent what John wrote;

      There is no clearer sign of its new corporate approach to the world than the listing of Rod Deane and his wife as patrons of the organisation. Deane has an awful history as a leading campaigner for the privatisation of state assets in the 1980s and 1990s. He took roles in the public sector to help set the scene for privatisation then took up the role of Chair of the privatised Telecom. You can read some of Deane’s sordid story help
      .

      If you’re going to address what someone wrote, at least have the courtesy to do it honestly.

      • You are right Frank, it isn’t an attack on Deane for his support of IHC.

        There is no clearer sign of its new corporate approach to the world than the listing of Rod Deane and his wife as patrons of the organisation.

        Is actually a nonsense statement.

        Is it saying Deane’s support is a result of, and because he agrees with, the direction the organisation has taken?

        or

        Does it mean that the the organisation has taken the direction it has because Deane became its patron?

        I’d say neither.

        Dean supports the IHC because his family has direct experience in the suffering it seeks to relieve.

        That being the case, I’d hazard a guess that the Deane family would have supported it had the IHC operated in the model it had in 1975.

        Anyhow, we shouldn’t let a few thoughtless words derail what is otherwise a good article from John Minto.

      • I did. When someone describes a persons lifes work as ‘sordid’ it is a personal attack. In this case, given the man’s work with IHC, a disgraceful one.

        • Deane has an awful history as a leading campaigner for the privatisation of state assets in the 1980s and 1990s. He took roles in the public sector to help set the scene for privatisation then took up the role of Chair of the privatised Telecom. You can read some of Deane’s sordid story here.

          Martyn did not “play the man”, he addressed Deane’s track record and actions. If that is not open to scrutiny just because he is one of your personal heroes, Amos, well, tough. Stop being so precious about it.

          Deane did what he did. If it doesn’t measure up to criticism then that doesn’t say much about the “reforms” he supported.

        • Amos, your loyalty to the New Right is noted.

          However, the rest of us will exercise our democratic freedom (while we still have it) to condemn Deane for his actions.

          Deane was part of the right wing reforms of the ’80s. He should stand or fall by his track record. I for one condemn his sordid actions which resulted in thousands losing their jobs and many families pushed into poverty.

          Many of those families never recovered and here we are, decades later, debating the “worthy” or “unworthy” poor.

          • “He should stand or fall by his track record.”

            Absolutely. So let’s debate that, not label his achievements with a subjective epithet.

            • Labelling his “achievements” IS part of assessing his track record Amos. Deal with it.

              The word “sordid” is the kindest description of Deane’s nasty, anti-social, and horrendous activities in the 1980s and 1990s. What do you expect from those who criticise, a medal??

  5. You can add CCS and endless other organisations, all dependent on government funding, as their voluntary donors struggle to keep them going. Many may be on the “charity” register, but operate like businesses. They are happy to get government contracts and meet government demands, as they have all more or less become complicit and willing collaborators in the privatisation and commercialisation of supposed “welfare” services.

    The same happened in the UK and elsewhere, it is an assembly of prostituting organisations, doing deals with governments, mainly right wing, to abolish government control and responsibility.

    And this is some of what goes on:
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/mhes-spes-msd-withholds-o-i-a-info-that-may-prove-trials-a-failure-post-nzsjb-final-14-04-2015.pdf

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/mab-process-how-msd-discretely-changed-it-further-disadvantaging-clients-nzsjb-18-03-15.pdf

    These are just 2 posts, there is a newer one, found on a humble website, that reveals the lies by MSD and this government in welfare policy and practices, look up ‘nzsocialjusticeblog2013’ for that.

  6. The breakdown of the mental health system in NZ has been a shambles, good mental health is very important for a healthy society to function properly.

    This Government and previous Governments appear heel bent on dismantling health systems that have been built up over decades in search of some neo-liberal solution which has never been proven.

    The problem is we have neo-liberal accountants, economists and investment bankers with no knowledge of health, mental health or human relationships trying to attach $ figures and outcomes via spreadsheets and balance sheets, it does not work.

    How does Cuba supply Africa and South American Countries with Doctors, when we struggle to produce x nos of Doctors per annum.

    Something is sick in this country and it all revolves around the mighty $.

    We have a Government and a PM who actually worship the $.

    We need to either start thinking outside the square or we need to shift the paradigm.

  7. I have had personal experience and involvement with a self proclaimed “charity” or over thirty years, St John.

    Despite administering itself on the corporate model, St John still promotes itself as a charity. In my opinion, any organization which uses corporate practice in everyday business, is definitely not a charity.

    It’s the workers who are the public face of many charities, those who are dedicated to the cause and work hard to get the best for the organization they represent.

    So these corporatised “charities” are out there, preying on the vulnerability and kindness of good honest citizens to support their services!

  8. It’s hard to know who to “hate” in this fight (other than the government, of course).

    Parents of people with intellectual disabilities obviously want quality housing for their kids – so that they can live as independently as possible in a pleasant, safer area.

    From what I gather, IHC was initially set up as a trust by parents and over the decades they have accumulated many, MANY properties….. Their property portfolio must be worth mega millions… On the one hand you have to admire what they have done. On the other, I personally hate that they own so many houses, while the physically disabled in NZ are so neglected.

    I’ve had a gross insight into the disabled housing issue, having spent the last five years trying to find appropriate housing for a sibling with a physical disability. He’s in a wheelchair, but is intellectually and socially “normal”.

    We’ve had to settle for a run down mixed “care” home, which is a neglected ex elderly rest home. There is almost no social housing for New Zealanders with a physical disability.

    Unless you come to disability through an accident and are covered by ACC (who seem to throw the latest, most expensive gadgets at their wheelchair bound clients).

    For people in wheelchairs, there are the haves and the have-nots….. If you are born into a wheelchair, you have to fight the public health system for every basic thing. Even to get a wheel puncture repaired. Two days sitting in bed as you wait for the person from Enable to travel around New Zealand to fix our chair.

    It is not okay for otherwise “normal” people to be forced to live in group homes surrounded by noise, caregivers and people who are basically “gaga” or “vegetables” (for want of a better term).

    IHC should step up and expand the boundaries of who they house, or maybe CCS could get back to basics.

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