A tweet sent out by the Minister for Disability issues was taken way out of context – purely because of the word disability.
Nicky Wagner has apologised for her comments on Twitter where she implied that spending a day on the Auckland Harbour would be preferable to meetings with representatives of people with disabilities.
The reaction was immediate – and it was the opportunity that the disabled community needed to once again remind Wagner (and the National Party) of the importance of saying the right things and not leaving anything open to interpretation.
Busy with Disability meetings in Auckland- rather be out on the harbour! pic.twitter.com/1i9O86hvod
— Nicky Wagner MP (@nickywagner) June 15, 2017
To be completely fair to Wagner – her tweet wasn’t disrespectful at all. People saying that it was need to stop being so precious and grow up. Who wouldn’t want to be out enjoying the sun on what was a beautiful winters day?
The mistake Wagner actually made was using the word disability in her comments. But let’s get to the bigger issue.
Just because Wagner is the Minister for Disability Issues and she happened to be doing work in that area is besides the point here. Is the disabled community going to take itself so seriously that it can use a simple statement made on social media and turn it into a political issue?
I apologise for any offence I have caused to the disability community. That was not my intention.
— Nicky Wagner MP (@nickywagner) June 17, 2017
Its a great reminder for everyone about how easily words can be misinterpreted. Because the term disability was used, critics turned her tweet into an example of her disrespect and lack of interest in the disabled community – how they came to that conclusion is beyond my comprehension.
Calls for Wagner to resign are not a direct result of the tweet, more so, its due to the failings of a Government that continues to give people with disabilities a mediocre service.
The timing of Wagner’s tweet is bad, given her recent fallout with IDEA Services and the quick push through of a complete system transformation for Disability Support Services.
Just where to now? Who knows… but Wagner needs to tread ultra carefully now.