Jasmine White, age 18
“As a first-time voter, I am particularly excited to be involved and participate in this year’s election.”
Jasmine White is an 18-year-old who was recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and plans to use this year’s election to promote the health priorities of people with lifelong chronic conditions that impact their physical ableness.
“I was a very active teenager my passion is rock climbing, I love physical activity, when I turned 16 my body began to hurt, it got so bad I found it extremely hard to get out of bed in the morning and dress. Eventually, my parents took me to the doctor, and after numerous blood tests which came back positive with high RA levels, my world was turned upside down. I had no energy for exercise, my mental health suffered, other than my family there was no understanding or support services available for me. I want to change that, I want to advocate for other young people that go through what I have gone through and now with the support from Arthritis New Zealand I can stand on a platform and be heard!”
As a first-time voter, Jasmine is particularly excited to be involved and participate in this year’s election. Over the course of the events of 2020, the gaps within the New Zealand Health System have proven evident, she explains.
“The prioritisation for governmental assistance towards individuals with conditions like mine is few and far between. Moving into this election, as a young person I feel that it is particularly important for political parties to put a strong emphasis on facilitating the needs of those living with disabilities. Such as government-funded physio appointments and care, as well as more accessible treatment for similar conditions, which could ultimately be the deciding principle between an individual being in pain or not.”
During this election, Jasmine said she wants to witness a shift in governmental focus from its interest in international affairs to a more structured refocus on the prioritisation of the physical health of all New Zealanders and to see it work alongside the disability community to create appropriate facilities. “These could be automatic bathroom doors in public spaces, and automating other daily tasks that may prove to us difficult.”
“Finally, I feel as a young person especially, the stigma around having a disability at such a young age partially prevents young people from reaching out for support in their community. In this election, I feel that it would be most beneficial for all political parties to be dedicated to breaking down the false truths surrounding disabilities and committing to policies that are there for the enhancement of the success for those with Arthritis. Also, the education of able-bodied individuals about the realities for individuals living with physical impairments is vital. Going into this year’s election I challenge all New Zealand to vote for the party that will bring justice for all New Zealanders, regardless of their physical capability.”
Ask political parties their policies on improving services for people with arthritis
As we approach the election this year we are asking people affected by arthritis to ask the main political parties some key questions about arthritis and its management. We are asking supporters to focus on the three main forms of arthritis: osteoarthritis, gout arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (including other forms of inflammatory arthritis), and we have one question about each of these conditions. All you need to do to help make an impact is send your letter!