Progress Report - 2006/2007
Message from the Disabled Persons Assembly
It is my pleasure to write the foreword to the 7th Progress Report of the New Zealand Disability Strategy.
As noted by Minister Dyson, the signing of the United Nations’ International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a big step towards the goal of the Strategy.
Careful analysis reveals how the Convention and the Strategy share a kaupapa of disabled people being included in the ordinariness of our communities. This is no accident: we used the Strategy as a guiding document when working with other countries to develop the Convention.
More importantly though, the success of the Convention process came down to the active partnerships between Governments and disabled people and I look forward to seeing the growth of work to implement the Strategy that is driven by active partnerships domestically.
This Progress Report lists a few achievements including the establishment of the New Zealand Relay Service, the passing of the New Zealand Sign Language Act, the closure of large institutions and the repeal of the Disabled Persons Employment Promotion Act.
These are hard-won gains for disabled people. But for disabled people the practicalities of day-to-day living are the most important things. They continue to include:
- Being able to be alive and to have impairments;
- Using disability support services that support our needs rather than the needs of “the system”;
- Gaining an education that prepares us for a working life that goes beyond work that other people won’t do;
- Getting around our communities and
- Being ourselves
The New Zealand Disability Strategy is meant to do these things and more.
I believe it can but after six years when we note three core Government agencies cannot deliver on their obligation to even report on their progress – “making a world of difference” seems as long, long way off.
Disabled Persons Assembly (NZ)