The national elections in New Zealand, will be taking place on November 26th 2011 (click here for the election timetable).
Leading up the fateful day, various political parties and candidates will of course be sharing their views and policies on pretty much everything, including issues directly relevant to autism. That particularly includes education (special education, including support for special needs post-secondary schooling), and health (disability supports and services). There are of course other areas affected by government attitudes and priorities (eg employment, justice) that also impact on families living with autism.
I will be keeping an eye on such policies over the next few months. I shall attempt to access and explain the autism-relevant views of at least every major political party, and the minor ones as time and information allows, in posts on this blog. (Investigations into their policies will no doubt also spin-off into further more general discussions.) If I can’t find their views on such issues (via their own news releases, advertising, websites, interviews etc), I will try to contact them directly for answers. Because the answers matter to me, and there’s a good chance the answers matter to a fair few of my readers. (Don’t worry out-of-town readers, I’m not going to get election-obsessed; this is just an (important) side project.)
I am hopeful at least that by seeking out and sharing such answers from the parties and candidates, I will bring more attention to the importance and impact of such views.
I don’t see the election as a lolly-scramble; caring for autistic people is not just a money issue. It is also about attitudes and awareness. A party that promises huge spending on everything – including autism relevant issues – but doesn’t understand how the system operates and impacts on our families and the lives of autistic people, is still missing a huge piece of the puzzle. In the same vein, nice attitudes and high levels of awareness, without structure and resources to make them turn into real results, is also only so-helpful. In my investigations of the policies I will focus the most on bringing together and explaining the parties’ / candidates’ views. I will no doubt share my own opinions of those views too, but I see that as a secondary task.
I’ll keep all such posts under the new category “NZ Elections 2011; Autism.”