Accelerating Accessibility Legislation.
The DPO Coalition met with the team from the Ministry for Social Development who are working on the Accelerating Accessibility Legislation. The Accelerating Accessibility work is about establishing a new system to identify and remove wide-spread accessibility barriers. The DPO Coalition discussed how it should be governed and who should be involved in governance. They particularly emphasized the need for disabled people to be in positions of influence across every aspect of this work. A cabinet paper is now being developed about the Accelerating Accessibility programme. The DPO Coalition agreed to provide feedback on the paper.
New Ministry for Disabled People.
The DPO Coalition met with the team from the Ministry for Social Development who are providing policy advice about the new Ministry for Disabled People. They discussed the functions of the new Ministry. They also considered whether the Office for Disability Issues and new Accessibility Legislation should be based in the new Ministry or somewhere else.
The DPO Coalition learned of a letter recently sent to people who use home-based support services. This explained about potential disruptions to their services due to COVID and that for some this may mean no service. The DPO Coalition was very concerned to read this letter. It showed a lack of understanding of people’s needs. The DPO Coalition agreed to write a letter explaining their concerns to the Minister for Health, Minister for COVID-19 Response, and Minister for Disability Issues. These concerns are about the vulnerable position that disabled people will be left in if their supports are disrupted. The DPO Coalition believes there needs to be a system for people to raise concerns about their services and to seek support. It is critical that disabled people are supported during these uncertain times.
Establishment Unit, Ministry for Disabled People.
A new Ministry for Disabled People is currently being established. The Ministry will be the first of its kind in the world. The DPO Coalition met with Justine Cornwall, the Establishment Director. Justine is leading the technical work needed to establish the new Ministry, which will be led by a new Chief Executive. The DPO Coalition expressed that the new Ministry needs to have leadership by disabled people at every level. The DPO Coalition was pleased to hear that disabled people are being involved in the governance of this work – 6 of the 9 people in the governance group will have experience of disability. The DPO Coalition welcomed the updates about the Establishment Unit. It emphasised that communication to the sector about the progress being made is important.
Office for Disability Issues.
The DPO Coalition met with officials from the Office for Disability Issues. Discussion included reporting against the Disability Action Plan, the new Ministry for Disabled People, community engagement, COVID response, and New Zealand’s second country examination by the United Nations.
Disability Convention: How is New Zealand Doing?
New Zealand is scheduled to be examined in August this year, on its implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Disability Convention). The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities carries out the review in Geneva. To prepare for this examination, the Independent Monitoring Mechanism (IMM) is holding a national Forum to review the implementation of the Disability Convention in Aotearoa New Zealand. The Forum will provide a national platform to review the New Zealand government’s progress in protecting the rights of disabled people under the Disability Convention. The Forum will be held online on March 29th-30th and April 5th-6th. The Forum will examine issues raised in the 2019 and 2020 ‘Making Disability Rights Real’ reports published by the IMM. During eight short sessions (2.5-3 hours per session // morning and afternoon), disabled people from the IMM will ask questions of the government. The IMM will consider responses to a range of issues raised in the reports and important to disabled people. The opening and closing sessions are two of the eight sessions. The issues/topics on which questions are being asked of the Government are:
- Obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi;
- Equity and Access during Humanitarian Crises;
- Integrity of the Person;
- Equality, Non-Discrimination, and Access to Justice;
- Accessibility and Independence.
You can check in with a DPO or IMM Partners for updates. On behalf of the IMM the Human Rights Commission is hosting information on the following web-page Human Rights Commission :: Disability Convention: How is New Zealand Doing? (hrc.co.nz)
Enabling Good Lives.
The DPO Coalition met with three members of the national Enabling Good Lives Leadership Group. This was an opportunity for the DPO Coalition and the Enabling Good Lives team to share updates about their work, and to discuss the national rollout of Enabling Good Lives.