Disability Rights Commissioner
The DPO Coalition met with Paula Tesoriero, the Disability Rights Commissioner. They discussed the forum on New Zealand’s implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the inquiry into the experiences of disabled people during omicron.
Paula gave an update on her work on violence and abuse, support for people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and their families, housing accessibility and Project Mobilise. This project aims to change the attitude and public perception toward disability people.
The Ministry of Education
The DPO Coalition met with officials from the Ministry of Education about their proposal to change the access pathway to some of the residential specialist schools. The DPO Coalition expressed concerns that young people have a right to inclusive education, and to family/whānau, under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. These proposals are likely to increase the number of young people attending specialist schools. Increasing access to segregated education is going in the opposite direction to implementing the Convention.
Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission
The DPO Coalition met with an official from the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission who presented He Ara Āwhina – a proposed framework for monitoring the mental health and addiction system. He Ara Āwhina will monitor and advocate for improvements to the mental health and addiction system, including services. The Coalition discussed a consultation document about He Ara Āwhina, and the relationship between mental health and addiction services and disability support services.
Te Huia Bill Hamilton
The DPO Coalition welcomed Te Huia Bill Hamilton. They discussed how to better reflect Te Tiriti o Waitangi in the DPO Coalition’s Charter and practice. The DPO Coalition has further conversations with Te Huia Bill on this topic planned.
Office for Disability Issues
The DPO Coalition met with officials from the Office for Disability Issues. They discussed changes to the Covid-19 Protection Framework and potential impacts on disabled people, the forum on New Zealand’s implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and reporting against the Disability Action Plan.
The DPO Coalition met with Geraldine Woods from the Transition Unit. Geraldine discussed how a disability focus could be embedded in Health New Zealand, the Māori Health Authority, and the new ministry for Disabled People. The DPO Coalition welcomed the focus on better monitoring how the health sector delivers for disabled people and emphasized the need for representation of disabled people at all levels.
Donald Beasley Institute
The DPO Coalition met with the research team from the disabled person-led monitoring project at the Donald Beasley Institute. Planning is underway for the next round of monitoring “Supports and Services”. This in part will consider disabled people’s experiences of the changes to the health and disability system. To improve the cultural responsiveness of the disabled person-led monitoring, Donald Beasley Institute has begun working with tāngata whaikaha/whānau hauā and tagata sa’ilimalo.
Expressions of interest in a Māori monitor position close on 27 April. Anyone wishing to have the Job Description can contact the DPO Coalition.
Ministry of Health
The DPO Coalition met with Billy Allan, Pharmacy Manager, about the Pharmacy Whamakahere project. This project is about developing a strategic direction for pharmacy services. They would like consumer input including feedback on what a good pharmacy experience looks like.
Ministry for Social Development
The DPO Coalition met with Anne Hawker, Principal Advisor Disability from the Ministry for Social Development. They discussed the accessibility charter, which has over 50 signatories who have committed to providing accessible information. They also discussed producing documents in alternate formats and developing disability awareness training across Government.
Establishment Unit, proposed ministry for Disabled People
A new ministry for Disabled People (name yet to be confirmed) is currently being established. The Ministry will be the first of its kind in the world.
The DPO Coalition met with an official from the Establishment Unit for the proposed ministry for Disabled People. They discussed progress towards establishing the new Ministry, governance of the Establishment Unit and communication about progress.
Recruitment process for the new Ministry was discussed, and the DPO Coalition raised the need for disabled people to be appointed to roles at all levels.