Building a better Aotearoa for disabled people

We’re incredibly proud to be celebrating the launch of Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People.

Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People will put disabled people, their whānau, carers, and supporters first, removing barriers that existed when there was no single agency. The Ministry will also be the first in Aotearoa to have a New Zealand Sign Language name.

As part of the transformation journey of our Health and Disability System, we’re implementing the Enabling Good Lives approach nationally, after successfully trialling it in our regions. Enabling Good Lives is an approach that works, empowering disabled people and their whānau to have more choice and control of the support they receive.

Alongside this, we’re also introducing new stand-alone accessibility legislation and establishing an Accessibility Governance Board. Disabled people across Aotearoa New Zealand face barriers to participation due to the inaccessibility of so many spaces. This new legislation will set out a framework to provide a more accessible Aotearoa, and commit future governments to the ongoing improvement of accessibility in New Zealand.

These changes build on the progress we’ve made over our time in Government. When we came into Government, disability support funding was struggling to keep up with the services needed. We have continued to increase this to achieve better outcomes for people with disabilities, including delivering the biggest ever funding boost for Disability Support Services in 2020.

We’ve also rolled out extra support to make it easier for people with disabilities to take part in sport, and increased New Zealand Sign Language interpreting services so people can stay connected. Plus we’re ensuring family carers can be paid for support services, to make sure whānau who provide care are better recognised for their work

The establishment of Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People, along with the other actions we’re taking, will embed disabled peoples voices at all levels of decisions making. We’re delivering on our commitments to helping disabled people across Aotearoa New Zealand, and paving the way for long term change for disabled people, their whānau, careers, and supporters.

Together, these changes will make a real difference for the 1.1 million Kiwis with a disability, as we work towards an inclusive Aotearoa where everyone is empowered to live fulfilling lives.

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