Foreword and Acknowledgements

Foreword from the Minister for Disability Issues

E nga iwi, e nga reo, e nga karangatanga maha o nga hau e wha, tenei te mihi atu ki a koutou katoa. Tena koutou, tena koutou, a, tena koutou katoa. Tihei mauriora.

To all people, all voices, all the many relations from the four winds, I greet you all.

One in five New Zealanders has a long-term impairment. Many are unable to reach their potential or participate fully in the community because of barriers they face doing things that most New Zealanders take for granted. The barriers range from the purely physical, such as access to facilities, to the attitudinal, due to poor awareness of disability issues.

The aim of the NZ Disability Strategy: Making a World of Difference - Whakanui Oranga is to eliminate these barriers wherever they exist.

The NZ Disability Strategy will guide Government action to promote a more inclusive society. It is an enduring framework which will ensure that government departments and other government agencies consider disabled people before making decisions. It will sit alongside other government programmes such as the Positive Ageing Strategy, the New Zealand Health Strategy and the Re-evaluation of Human Rights Protections in New Zealand.

The Government will take the lead - but we will also be doing everything we can to influence the attitudes and behaviour of society as a whole. All New Zealanders need to consider issues for disabled people and their aspirations as individuals. We must also consider the families and whānau of disabled people, and others who support them.

The NZ Disability Strategy has been developed with extensive input from the disability sector. During the consultation period, 700 submissions were received, including feedback from 68 meetings around the country. A summary of consultation findings is available from the Ministry of Health.

Thank you to all those who attended meetings, made submissions and promoted the Strategy. In particular, I want to thank the members of the sector reference group, whose tireless work has played a major part in its successful development.

The Government is committed to the NZ Disability Strategy. Each year government departments will develop work plans which set out specific steps to implement the Strategy. These plans will be monitored annually, and a review of overall progress will occur after five and ten years.

I have appreciated the opportunity to be Minister for Disability Issues during one of the most exciting periods of developmental work on disability issues. In the five years since I was Labour's disability spokesperson, there has been an exponential change of attitude, including changes in language and understanding. I am grateful to all those who helped bring me up to speed during this challenging time.

I also want to acknowledge my colleague Ruth Dyson, the first Minister for Disability Issues, who has raised the profile of disability issues both inside and outside Government and who laid the strong foundations on which the Strategy is built.

I am keen to shepherd the NZ Disability Strategy through the next stage of implementation, in an active and collaborative way with disabled people. Working together, I am confident that we can, indeed, make a world of difference.

Hon Lianne Dalziel Minister for Disability Issues


The development of the NZ Disability Strategy has involved valued input from a wide range of individuals, groups and organisations. The advice and assistance from the following contributors is particularly acknowledged:

  • NZ Disability Strategy sector reference group,
  • Disabled Persons Assembly (New Zealand) Inc, especially those local representatives who hosted consultation meetings,
  • workshop, hui, fono and focus group participants and everyone who made a submission on the NZ Disability Strategy discussion document.
  • the Auckland Disability Providers Network,
  • organisations that helped with accessible versions of the NZ Disability Strategy discussion document, especially the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind and IHC,
  • New Zealand Sign Language interpreters who provided their services at consultation meetings.

Acknowledging the special relationship between Māori and the Crown under the Treaty of Waitangi

The Treaty of Waitangi is New Zealand's founding document and the Government is committed to fulfilling its obligations as a Treaty partner. This special relationship is ongoing and is based on the underlying premise that Māori should continue to live in Aotearoa as Māori.

Central to the Treaty relationship and implementation of Treaty principles is a common understanding that Māori will have an important role in developing and implementing disability strategies for Māori and that the Crown and Māori will relate to each other in good faith with mutual respect, co-operation and trust.

Māori should be able to define and provide for their own priorities for participation and be encouraged to develop the capacity for delivery of services to their communities. This needs to be balanced by the Crown's duty to govern on behalf of the total population.

To date, the relationship between Māori and the Crown in the disability sector has been based on three key principles:

  • participation at all levels
  • partnership in service delivery
  • protection and improvement of Māori wellbeing.

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