Outcome 6 - Attitudes

We are treated with dignity and respect.

Our future and what needs to happen

Disability is understood and accepted as a part of the diversity of the human experience and we are treated with dignity and respect by those around us and society more broadly.

There is a willingness to explore attitudes towards disability, in particular those that negatively stereotype, stigmatise and discriminate. There is an appetite for seeking out ways to change attitudes and ensure that basic human rights are upheld for all people. These changes are made in a way that is safe and that upholds our views and diverse voices.

We are able to choose how we want to be identified and this is acknowledged and respected by society. This is particularly important for those of us who identify first within, for example, our ethnicity or culture and not with disability.

We will be encouraged to speak out in whatever language we use, and our views will be listened to. This includes those of us who may communicate differently, use technology to communicate, and/or have support to communicate or express our preferences. As a result, we are confident demonstrating the value we bring to our families, whānau, community and the country as a whole.

Our views, either as an individual or as part of a group, will be listened to without being diminished, and society will not seek to take this away, either by accident or design.

What this means:

  • Disabled people are consulted on and actively involved in the development and implementation of legislation and policies concerning attitude change, stigma and discrimination, in particular where they are specific to disabled people.
  • The rich diversity of the disability community will be included and represented in initiatives to change attitudes and behaviours, which will also ensure that disabled people are seen as part of other communities or groups.
  • There is a particular focus on making sure all frontline service providers and professionals treat disabled people with dignity and respect.
  • Decision-making on issues regarding attitude change, stigma and discrimination, is informed by robust data and evidence.


The existing Disability Action Plan will be the primary tool for implementing the New Zealand Disability Strategy 2016-2026.

In the past the Plan only included actions that needed more than one government agency to carry out. Therefore there are no specific actions in the existing Plan relating to this outcome.

However, in future the Plan will also include actions for which individual agencies are responsible.

The Plan will be updated next year and public consultation will be held to ensure that the priorities for action are informed by what disabled people and the community says is most important for them. See Making it Work for more information.

Other initiatives

Inequality and Progress

Explore a clickable dashboard that demonstrates inequality and progress in attitudes towards disabled people.

6.1 Disabled people are treated with dignity and respect by everybody.

  • While experience of discrimination by non-disabled people has remained steady since 2016 for non-disabled people (at 17%), in comparison, experiences of discrimination seems to have slightly reduced for disabled people (reducing from 23% to 21% in 2020). (GSS 2016-18, HLFS, 2020)

  • In the Access 2020 survey, when asked whether people treated them differently due to disability/access need, 36% reported sometimes, and 28% reported all the time/often.

  • Graph showing ways disabled people feel they are treated differently, data below

    Some of the ways in which people have reported being treated differently due to disability, have included  (1) 51% saying others have been patronising towards me, (2) 48% reporting others appear to feel sorry for me and (3) 32% reporting that others stare at me (Access 2020, Be.Lab).

6.2 Disability is portrayed positively in the media.

  • Trust held for media seems to have slightly increased for both disabled and non-disabled people between 2018 and 2020 (20% of disabled people having high trust in 2018, compared to 22% in 2020). (GSS, 2016-18, HLFS 2020)

 6.3 Disabled people are recognised as citizens in their own right

  • Graph showing attitudes to disabled people. Data in text below
    Results from GSS 2016-18 indicate that disabled people held less positive feelings about a new neighbour with a disability or long term health condition (only 80% reporting feeling comfortable/very comfortable in comparison to 83% of non disabled people in 2018). Disabled people also had less feelings of comfort about a new neighbour who had a mental illness than non-disabled people (50% compared to 55% of non-disabled people in 2018). Feelings of comfort about about mental illness however seems to have improved for both disabled and non-disabled people, however, the data indicates that feelings about disability may have worsened.

  • Ability to express identity seems to have reduced since 2016 for both disabled and non-disabled people (78% for disabled people in 2016, reduced to 76% in 2018).

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