While there has been wide ranging improvement in the way government agencies deliver services for disabled people and their whānau, in the eleven years since the launch of the New Zealand Disability Strategy, it’s only in the last 18 months that we have achieved a whole of government action plan for its implementation.
This Disability Action Plan has the benefit of focusing Ministers and Chief Executives on those things that need them to act together, across government agencies, as well as in the areas they have specific responsibility for. We continue to focus on rebuilding an accessible Canterbury, on jobs and other economic opportunities, and on transforming supports for living.
In 2011, I commissioned a group of people from the disability sector to tell me how supports could facilitate a good life for people. They came up with the Enabling Good Lives report. Its vision and principles have been adopted by our Ministerial Committee on Disability Issues to shape all future development of disability supports. In 2012, the Ministries of Health and Social Development funded independent facilitators to work with people in Christchurch and Waikato, and a small group of families in Wellington, to think about how they would put the Enabling Good Lives principles into practice.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities independent monitors have continued to work actively with our Ministers’ Committee to add their feedback and recommendations to our thinking as we develop the Action Plan. This has proved to be a great working partnership. As anticipated, the Convention Coalition (of disabled people’s organisations), the Human Rights Commission and the Office for the Ombudsman, as designated monitors, have each added value and together challenged us to do better.
Together we will bring about real improvements in the lives of disabled New Zealanders.
Hon Tariana Turia
Minister for Disability Issues
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