ODI Newsletter - April 2019

Read the April edition of the ODI Newsletter, with updates about Expressions of Interest for the Nominations Database, the Government's Report to the UNCRPD's list of 100 issues, updating the Disability Action Plan and more.

In this issue:

Welcome by Brian Coffey, Director of the Office for Disability Issues

Expressions of Interest for the Office for Disability Issue's Nominations Database

The Government's report to the UN's Disability Committee on the list of 100 issues

Updating the Disabilty Action Plan


Meet the Team

Welcome by Brian Coffey, Director of the Office for Disability Issues 

Brian Coffey, ODI Director, in a blue-white check shirt

Brian Coffey, ODI Director

Kia ora koutou

Welcome to ODI’s first newsletter for 2019. The first few months have been busy and we have lots of news to share with you.

The ODI is returning to strength, with three new appointments: Vaughan Dodd has joined us as a Senior Advisor, while Shona Jones has joined ODI as an NZSL Advisor. Both Vaughan and Shona bring a wealth of knowledge and experience with them and are well known in their respective communities, and in the wider disabled community. We also have a new Graduate Policy AdvisorJess Price. Welcome to ODI – we look forward to working with you.

The Government’s response to the list of 100 issues issued by the UNCRPD has now been delivered. Find out more in the article below or go to our website to read the report itself, in a range of accessible formats.

We also have some exciting developments to tell you about. Many of you will have seen the announcement launching the Expressions of Interest Survey for the Nominations Database. This initiative has the support of the Minister, the DPO Coalition  (who have helped to develop this piece of work) and the community and has been eagerly anticipated. I encourage those of you with suitable skills and experience to grab the opportunity with both hand and get involved. Boards are better when there is a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds and skills around the table.

I also have a further update about the new Disability Action Plan. We continue to work with the ideas that you have been sharing with us over the last couple of years and are in the process of shaping the new Disability Action Plan with disabled people, the DPO Coalition, other government agencies, businesses and other stakeholders. We are continuing to develop and refine what you have been telling us and expect to be in a position to take the new plan to Cabinet by the end of May.

The NZSL advisors have been busy, processing applications for NZSL Funding Round 5 and working with MBIE, to support the important consultation over the Relay service, which will affect NZSL users and others including Deaf, deafblind, hearing-impaired and speech impaired New Zealanders who communicate with hearing people over the phone.

We have much to look forward to later in the year.

Ngā mihi

Brian Coffey
Director - Office for Disability Issues

Expressions of Interest for the Office for Disability Issues' Nominations Database


Image: The Expressions of Interest online survey
Image: The Expressions of Interest online survey


The ODI has been pleased by disabled people’s response to its call for Expressions of Interest for our Nominations Database, with over 100 people taking the time to complete the survey in the first two weeks.

The Government wants to increase the membership diversity of governance and advisory groups. As part of ODI’s role to help facilitate effective working relationships between disabled people, the disability sector and government agencies, it has set up this nominations database.

The purpose of this survey is to collect Expressions of Interest (EOI) from disabled people with relevant skills and experience, who want to be considered for nominations for governance and advisory positions on state sector boards and committees. This is an opportunity to increase the representation of disabled people on state sector boards and committees, to better reflect the diversity of New Zealand.

It is important for disabled people to be represented on governance and advisory groups, including State sector boards and committees, to provide a disability perspective. Boards work best when there is diversity of skills, expertise, backgrounds, perspectives and ways of thinking around the table. The ODI is often asked by appointing agencies to nominate disabled people for governance and advisory positions, as part of its work in the sector and has set up this Expressions of Interest Database to gather information to identify possible suitable candidates.

Some parents of disabled children and adults with a high needs and limited ability to represent themselves have also expressed an interest in registering with the ODI expressions of Interest nominations database.

Currently, the recruiting agencies have only requested that ODI collect a list of disabled people who may be suitable for nominations to consider. If whanau or carers wish to put their name forward, then you are invited to fill out the survey, and in question 12, please state that you are a carer/family/guardian of which type of disability/disabilities your family member’s lived experience(s) is/are. ODI will create a carers list from these submissions for the occasions that there may be requests for family members/whanau representation.

Completing the survey does not guarantee that any respondent will be appointed to a board. The ODI will be providing a list of potential nominees to agencies who request it. This is the first phase of this project – we hope that there will be future phases that allows a greater number of disabled people to have a voice on governance boards.

This information is available in alternative formats such as Large Print, PDF, word and HTML for screenreaders and NZSL from our webpage. Braille and other formats can be made available on request.

Important information: Before you complete the survey, please note:

• This survey has been developed in consultation with the Disabled People’s Organisations (DPO) Coalition.

• This survey does not guarantee a governance or advisory position automatically.  This is the first step to gaining a position.

• The information you provide us will only be used for nominations to boards and committees, in accordance with the Official Information Act 1982.

• The personal information will be stored in accordance with the Survey Monkey Privacy Policy , and the Privacy Act 1993.

• There are 25 questions to complete. The time it takes to complete this survey will be different for everyone and, depending on the level of support required, should take between 20 and 90 minutes.

• Please note that the SurveyMonkey website will only allow you to save the survey once. Contact odi@msd.govt.nz if you need assistance.

You can complete the survey by following this link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ODIEOI

If you have any questions, please email odi@msd.govt.nz or by phone or text to 029 495 0010.

Read the full story on our website www.odi.govt.nz/whats-happening/expressions-of-interest-for-the-office-for-disability-issues-nominations-database/  


The Government's report to the UN's Disability Committee on the list of 100 issues   

Image of the NZ Government's summary of the report to the UNCRPD

Image: NZ Government's summary of the report to the UNCRPD

ODI is pleased to announce that the Government has written its report to answer the 100 questions asked by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This report was sent to the UN Committee on 9 March 2019.

The report provides information on what the Government has done over the past four years to put the Disability Convention into action. It includes information on education, employment, health, justice, transport, housing, data, accessibility and much more.

The report provides a snapshot of where things are at currently. While good progress has been made, there are still areas for improvement.

You can read the Government’s response to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on our website in various formats.

To order a copy of the report in braille formats, please send an email to odi@msd.govt.nz.

You can also read the introduction and glossary to the Government’s response to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (HTML webpage).

Next steps

The Government will be invited to Geneva to appear before the UN Committee. The Committee will then give the Government recommendations (called ‘Concluding Observations’) on what we can do to better implement the Disability Convention.

The Independent Monitoring Mechanism is running a separate process to provide feedback to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. You can keep up to date with this process and opportunities to feed into their report here:  www.hrc.co.nz/international-reporting/rights-disabled-people/ .

You can read the Government’s report to the UN’s Disability Committee's list of 100 issues on the ODI website at www.odi.govt.nz/whats-happening/read-the-governments-report-to-the-un-disability-committee /.

Updating the Disability Action Plan
Image 1: Minister Sepuloni and Brian Coffey ODI Director at a DAP workshop with  
Image 1: Minister Sepuloni and Brian Coffey ODI Director at a DAP workshop with Pasefika


Thanks to all who have taken the time to share their ideas about what should be in the next Disability Action Plan, at the workshops the DPO Coalition and ODI have held around the country, as well as online, by phone and a range of other channels. 

Close to 400 people took the time to share their ideas at the workshops, while others shared their ideas or commented on other people’s ideas online. We collected over 750 idea in total!

We have now had the opportunity to hold a workshop with disabled people and key government agencies, that will help to shape the plan going forward.

The DAP is important as it is the Government’s commitment to actions to implement the New Zealand Disability Strategy (2016-2026). This work builds on meetings held in 2018 by Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Disability Issues, to gather ideas from disabled people in Whangarei, New Plymouth, Tauranga, Invercargill, Rotorua and Hamilton.

 Image 2: Some of the participants at the DAP workshop for Pasefika
Image 2: Some of the participants at the DAP workshop for Pasefika


NZSL News 

NZSL Board logo 
NZSL Board logo

Two important updates from the NZSL advisors:
• Round 5 of the NZSL Fund contestable process for community-driven initiatives has now closed and the 24 submissions received are being processed. The NZSL Board will consider them and expects to make recommendations for the Minister’s consideration in early April.
• ODI has been working in collaboration with the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Enterprise on a second phase of consultation on the Telecommunications Relay Service review which will be completed early in April. These services help Deaf, deafblind, hearing-impaired and speech impaired New Zealanders to communicate with hearing people over the phone. Feedback is being sought on six proposed changes to help move to more modern services that perform well for users and are ready for the future.
Read the article below to learn more about ODI’s new NZSL Advisor, Shona Jones, who is already well known to many members of the Deaf community.

Meet the Team

We welcome three new members to the ODI Team.

Welcome Vaughan Dodd to a Senior Advisor role in the ODI. As we welcome Vaughan we also welcome Archer, Vaughan’s guide dog - both will be popular in the ODI team. 


 Vaughan Dodd with his guidedog Archer at his feet
Image 3: Vaughan Dodd with guide dog Archer at his feet



Vaughan brings to the role:
•11 years’ experience as an Auckland Regional Disability Advisor in Service Delivery for the Ministry of Social Development
•many years working in the disability sector, including 12 year’s work with the Royal New Zealand Blind Foundation.

Vaughan has both a post-graduate Diploma in Rehabilitation Studies and a Bachelor of Arts from Massey University. In the voluntary sector Vaughan has served passionately in leadership roles with Blind Citizens as a long term Board Member including as National President.  He has been a strong advocate and advisor for disability rights in those roles. 

We also welcome Shona Jones as an Advisor to support the New Zealand Sign Language Board in its work programme. 

Shona brings to the role significant experience in NZSL and Deaf education.

Shona has important experience in the senior leadership team at Kelston Deaf Education Centre over many years as a teacher at Kelston and is currently an Advisor on Deaf Children at the Ministry of Education, Lower Hutt Office.

As a past member of the NZSL Board, including a year as Deputy Chair on the Board, Shona is very familiar with the work of the Board and committed to its purpose and vision.  As a child of Deaf parents Shona is fluent in NZSL.

Welcome Shona to ODI and the important contribution you will make to the work of the NZSL Board and ODI. 


 Welcome Jess Price and Shona Jones
Welcome Jess Price and Shona Jones


Ken Bowater continues in his secondment to the Senior Advisor role until 30 August 2019 in the NZSL Board secretariat.  At that stage the intention is to make a permanent appointment to the Senior Advisor role. This provides two positions in ODI to support the NZSL Board and the important and increasing programme of work in assisting the NZSL Board to implement the NZSL Strategy 2018-2023.

We also welcome Jess Price as ODI’s new Graduate Policy Analyst. Jess is from Christchurch and graduated with a BA in Japanese, a Bachelor of Health Science in Public Health and Society & Policy and a Master in Policy and Governance from the University of Canterbury last year. Jess says “getting a role as a Graduate Policy Analyst has been amazing - I hoped I would be able to work in a field where I can make a difference and support positive change to the lives of New Zealanders through policy. Currently I’m placed at the ODI and I’m learning so many new things and meeting so many great people - it feels like I really can here. I look forward to my next six months in ODI.” 


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