Congratulating Dr Jonathan Godfrey ONZM.
The DPO Coalition congratulated Blind Citizens NZ’s representative Dr Jonathan Godfrey for being made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to disabled people, particularly blind and low vision people. Dr Godfrey received his award on the first day of the DPO Coalition’s meeting.
Domestic review of New Zealand’s implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (“the Disability Convention”).
Recently the DPO Coalition worked with the Office of the Ombudsman and the Human Rights Commission to review New Zealand’s progress in implementing the Disability Convention. Together the three partners form, and are called, the Independent Monitoring Mechanism (IMM). Officials from government agencies were invited to an online event with the IMM to discuss progress. The IMM is writing a status report using information from this event and recent IMM publications about disability rights. The status report will be sent to the United Nations and will form part of the review in August 2022, when the United Nations International Committee examines New Zealand’s progress on implementing the Disability Convention.
Care in the Community support.
The DPO Coalition was very pleased to hear the Minister for Disability Issues announce an additional $58.1 million in funding for Care in the Community support.
Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission.
A team from the Law Commission met with the DPO Coalition to discuss Ngā Huarahi Whakatau – Review of Adult Decision-making Capacity Law. Law Commission officials provided an overview of the project, and discussed how the DPO Coalition would like to be engaged in future stages.
Te Huia Bill Hamilton.
The DPO Coalition welcomed Te Huia Bill Hamilton. We discussed tūrangawaewae and what it means to us. The DPO Coalition has further conversations planned with Te Huia Bill Hamilton about Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Ministry of Social Development.
Officials from the Ministry of Social Development met with the DPO Coalition. They discussed potential amendments to the New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006 and possible changes to assessing eligibility for community participation services and vocational support. They also signaled that decisions have been made about where the Office for Disability Issues will be positioned once the new ministry for disabled people is established.
Ministry of Health, Kaitūhono projects.
Enabling Good Lives pilot sites include Kaitūhono (Connector) roles. These roles connect disabled people to resources and their communities. The Ministry of Health’s System Transformation team is preparing a set of Guides to inform Kaitūhono/Connector practice. The DPO Coalition met with contractors and advisors involved in developing these guides. These guides have been created using learnings from Enabling Good Lives’ pilots. The Establishment Unit for the new ministry will then take up the Guides and ensure they are fully accessible and widely available. Disabled people, tāngata whaikaha, family, whanau and aiga will be able to request summaries and full copies of the Guides.
Statistics New Zealand.
The DPO Coalition met with Ronelle Baker, Senior Advisor Census Accessibility and colleagues. They talked about the impact of COVID-19 on the recent census test, and the possible impact of this if the census goes ahead in 2023, particularly for disabled people.
Office for Disability Issues
The DPO Coalition met with officials from the Office for Disability Issues. They discussed the development of the new ministry for disabled people and the transition to the new ministry on July 1, the ongoing importance of the New Zealand Disability Strategy, the Wai 2575 Waitangi Tribunal process and monitoring of the Disability Action Plan.
Establishment Unit, new ministry for disabled people.
A new ministry for disabled people is currently being established. This ministry will be the first of its kind in the world. The DPO Coalition met with an official from the Establishment Unit for the ministry for disabled people. They discussed the involvement of disabled people in governance of the Establishment Unit and new ministry, communication with the sector including alternate formats, and the “voice mechanism” for providing feedback to the ministry. The new ministry will be formally established on 1 July 2022. There was a clear message from the Establishment Unit that disability support services will transfer over – people will have the same disability support services in place on 1 July 2022 that they had on 30 June 2022.
United Nations Examination of New Zealand’s implementation of the Disability Convention.
The Coalition agreed to an upcoming meeting with a representative from the International Disability Alliance, to prepare for the upcoming examination of New Zealand by the United Nations committee in Geneva. The Coalition also agreed to produce a shadow report (a report by non-governmental civil society). This will focus on general comment 7 which says that representative organisations of disabled people should be supported to participate in the implementation and monitoring of the Convention.