Improving information about disabled people
On this page
- Information on disabled New Zealanders
- Update on the Disability Survey
- Disability Data and Evidence Working Group
- Meetings of Disability and Evidence Working Group
- Stocktake of government data on disabled people
Information on disabled people has, until recently, been collected primarily via Stats NZ’s Disability Survey . The Disability Survey was carried out in 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2013 after every census.
Other sources of data are in government administrative records and narrative accounts of disabled people’s lived experience of disability.
In 2016, the Office for Disability Issues prepared a report, Key issues for disabled people in New Zealand. The report provides a brief overview of major concerns for disabled New Zealanders, drawing on published data from Stats NZ’s 2013 Disability Survey and the New Zealand Convention Coalition Monitoring Group’s research reports on disabled people’s lived experience of disability.
Download the 2016 Report Key issues for disabled people in New Zealand [PDF, 212 KB]
Download the 2016 Report Key issues for disabled people in New Zealand [DOCX, 159 KB]
At a consultation workshop on the proposed Enduring Questions (to identify long-term information needs relating to disabled people) held in Wellington on 17 August 2016, it was agreed that Stats NZ and the Office for Disability Issues would provide an update on what happened with the Disability Survey and what happens next.
The update is below.
Stats NZ’s 10-year work programme
In 2012, the Government agreed to funding for Stats NZ’s forward work programme of official social and population statistics. Given the need to plan for the collection of statistics well in advance, this agreement covered a period of 10 years. The forward work programme covers all of the social statistics produced by Stats NZ, including:
The Disability Survey and Māori Social Survey to alternate
Funding allocations were made to match the Government’s priorities for information at that time. (Note: statistics produced from the population census are funded separately.) This funding allowed for only one post-census survey to be run after each five yearly population census. It was decided at the time to alternate the Māori Social Survey, Te Kupenga, and the Disability Survey, with the Māori Social Survey being the first cab off the rank to follow the 2018 Census.
Even though the Disability Survey has been carried out since 1996, it has never been part of the on-going forward work programme for Stats NZ. The previous funding allocation, covering the 10 years from 2004 to 2014, allowed for the 2006 and 2013 Disability Surveys.
The consultation process that informed advice to Government at the time could have been better
While there was consultation on the overall work programme and priorities that informed the advice from Stats NZ to Government, there was no specific consultation with interested sector groups, such as the disability sector.
After the consultation and the decision by the Government, it was communicated to the stakeholders that had been involved in the consultation.
Stats NZ acknowledges that it failed to consult with interested sector groups in the disability sector and to inform them specifically of the outcomes that affected them. This was not ideal and could have been handled better to provide greater transparency.
Stats NZ will ensure there is consultation with the disability sector in future
It is important to Stats NZ that disabled people and the disability sector get to have a say on things that impact on them. In future, Stats NZ will ensure there is appropriate consultation with the disability sector on issues relating to the collection of statistics about disabled people. Stats NZ will also work with the Office for Disability Issues as the Government’s focal point on disability issues.
The Disability Data and Evidence Working Group, co-chaired by Stats NZ and the Office for Disability Issues, helps ensure that decisions on the collection of data about disabled people, are informed by the views of the disability sector. This included, for example, the 2016 consultation on the Enduring Questions, focussed on identifying the long-term data needs of disabled people.
Improvements in the collection of statistics about disabled people are already being made
While national disability surveys provide the most comprehensive source of statistics about the lives of disabled people, there are other sources of information that are needed too. Making sure disabled people are included in other household surveys is important as it helps build a wider picture about their lives, and ensures they are visible and counted. The inclusion of disabled people in various on-going household surveys also provides comparative data, and makes it possible to track whether change or progress is occurring over time in disabled New Zealanders’ lives.
The Disability Data and Evidence Working Group has already helped Stats NZ to make improvements in the inclusion of disabled people in other household surveys. The Washington Group Short Set (WGSS) of questions to identify disabled people was included in the New Zealand General Social Survey (NZGSS) 2017. The WGSS will continue to be included in the NZGSS which is run every two years. The WGSS was also included for the first time in the June 2017 quarter of the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS), and will continue to be included in each June quarter of the HLFS going forward. Finally, the WGSS will be included in the forthcoming Census which will take place in March 2018.
On 16 June 2015, the Minister for Disability Issues announced the establishment of the Disability Data and Evidence Working Group, jointly facilitated by Stats NZ and the Office for Disability Issues.
The need to improve data collection and statistics on disabled people was a key recommendation made by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Independent Monitoring Mechanism (comprised of the Office of the Ombudsman, the Human Rights Commission and the Convention Coalition Monitoring Group). A strong evidence base is needed to inform decision making by government agencies, as well as understanding the life outcomes of disabled people over time.
The Disability Data and Evidence Working Group has a major focus on the types of data required to ensure the development of sound policy and appropriate services to meet the needs of disabled people in New Zealand and, thereby, improve their everyday lives.
The Disability Data and Evidence Working Group will also undertake an assessment of data available and required to measure the indicators selected for each of the outcome domains in the New Zealand Disability Strategy 2016-2026.
The selection of representatives for the Working Group was based on ensuring that participants have the rights skills and experience to address the often complex challenges of collecting and analysing data on disabled people. The membership includes representatives from government agencies, Disabled People’s Organisations, disability sector non-government organisations and universities. The members include:
- Stats NZ
- Office for Disability Issues
- Ministry of Social Development
- Ministry of Health
- Ministry of Education
- Ministry of Justice
- Ministry of Transport
- Oranga Tamariki
- New Zealand Disability Support Network
- Disabled People’s Organisations
Meeting papers and summaries of Working Group meetings are available in this section. Papers presented in draft form at meetings have not been uploaded.
7 September 2021
- Paper 1: A new survey on human rights (Word) [DOCX, 54 KB]
- Paper 1: A new survey on human rights (PDF) [PDF, 140 KB]
- Paper 2: Accessibility Admin Data Questions (Word) [DOCX, 16 KB]
- Paper 2: Accessibilty Admin Data Questions (PDF) [PDF, 178 KB]
8 June 2021
23 March 2021
- Agenda 2021 03 23 [DOCX, 64 KB]
- Meeting Summary 2021 03 23 [DOCX, 72 KB]
- Paper 1: Engagement and Reporting report [DOCX, 49 KB]
- Paper 2: Resources [DOCX, 59 KB]
- Paper 3: Access to Government Data, including IDI report [DOCX, 59 KB]
- Paper 4: NZDS 2023 Purpose and Objectives draft [DOCX, 38 KB]
- Paper 5: Identifying disabled people in the NZDS - a discussion document [DOCX, 79 KB]
- Paper 6: Working Matters dashboard [DOCX, 142 KB]
- Paper 7: Disability Research report [DOCX, 141 KB]
17 September 2020
- Agenda - Disability Data and Evidence Working Group [DOCX, 62 KB]
- Paper 1 - Key Messages and Processes [DOCX, 39 KB]
- Paper 2a - How to Collect Disability Data [DOCX, 23 KB]
- Paper 2b - Suggested Areas for Resources [DOCX, 41 KB]
- Paper 3 - Data and IDI [DOCX, 39 KB]
- Paper 4a - Enduring questions on disability [DOCX, 356 KB]
- Paper 4b - Questions about the enduring questions [DOCX, 74 KB]
- Paper 6 - Progressing the Disability Research Agenda [DOCX, 40 KB]
- Summary of DDEWG Meeting [DOCX, 69 KB]
27 June 2018
5 October 2017
28 August 2015
1 October 2015
9 December 2015
4 March 2016
5 October 2016
If you have questions or comments to make about the Working Group, please email Evidence_Working_Group@msd.govt.nz.
Page last updated: