Office for Seniors.
The DPO Coalition held a workshop with the Office for Seniors. They identified several common issues that affect both disabled people and people who are aging. They discussed the “Better Later Life” Action Plan, and some key actions including:
- a mature workers toolkit
- improving physical accessibility
- research into ways that people can be disadvantaged
- a project to create age-friendly communities.
The Office for Seniors will continue to provide the DPO Coalition with information on how these actions are progressing.
Donald Beasley Institute.
Researchers from the disabled person-led monitoring programme at the Donald Beasley Institute met with the DPO Coalition. The research team is starting a new round of monitoring looking at supports and services, the establishment of Whaikaha and the national rollout of Enabling Good Lives. Monitors are also working on writing academic articles to be published in international journals. Historically research about disability has been written by non-disabled people. The team is passionate about ensuring that disabled people are writing research, in partnership with non-disabled colleagues.
Ministry of Social Development – changes to the New Zealand Sign Language Act.
Engagement has started on proposed changes to the New Zealand Sign Language Act. Proposals include using legislation to create a Ministerial Advisory Group on New Zealand Sign Language. The DPO Coalition expressed to officials that it is important that New Zealand Sign Language is respected and protected as a taonga and given equal status to New Zealand’s other two official languages. They also felt it is important that the community is fully informed of all potential options.
Ministry of Social Development – Customised Employment.
Officials from the Ministry of Social Development gave the DPO Coalition an update on customised employment. Customised employment is a way of supporting people to find a job that matches their strengths, needs and interests. It can involve identifying what the person would like, negotiating with employers, customized support, in-work support and on-the-job training. Currently there is a workstream focusing on customized employment for people with learning disability and neurodiverse people. There will be formal engagement in October and November.
Ministry of Social Development – review of employment, participation and inclusion services.
The Ministry of Social Development are reviewing some of their community participation services and support funds for disabled people. The DPO Coalition suggested that there is a lack of understanding about the cost of disability. The cost of disability is really the cost of an inaccessible society.
Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People.
The DPO Coalition met with Paula Tesoriero, Chief Executive, and Loren Savage, Senior Chief Executive Advisor from Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People. Paula explained her orientation into the role, and her focus on building the foundations for Whaikaha. It will be important to have a culture based on the Disability Convention and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Reflecting on Te Tiriti.
The DPO Coalition reflected on a series of workshops they have had with Te Huia Bill Hamilton about Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The Coalition discussed how to take what they have learnt and apply it to the Coalition’s work. A further session with Te Huia Bill Hamilton is planned to discuss the DPO Coalition’s Charter.
Office for Disability Issues.
The DPO Coalition met with officials from the Office for Disability Issues. They discussed the United Nations Examination of New Zealand’s implementation of the Disability Convention. They also discussed the Disability Action Plan and the role of the Office for Disability Issues within Whaikaha, the new Ministry of Disabled People.
United Nations Examination of New Zealand’s implementation of the Disability Convention.
In August New Zealand was examined by the United Nations on how it is implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The DPO Coalition appointed a delegation of five people and two meeting assistants to travel to Geneva. They represented Civil Society as well as being part of the Independent Monitoring Mechanism, which includes the Human Rights Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman. At the September meeting the DPO Coalition delegation reported on their experiences, and what they had learnt. This will be recorded in a handbook for future delegations. Coalition members reflected that it is important to take what has been learnt to hold our government accountable in New Zealand until the next examination.
The DPO Coalition farewelled Kris Roguski, who has finished his term as National Chairperson of People First New Zealand. Kris has been a valued member of the DPO Coalition, and recently represented the DPO Coalition at the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Examination of New Zealand in Geneva.