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ODI Newsletter - September 2017

Bringing you news from the Office for Disability Issues and around the disability sector

In this issue:

Message from the Director

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

Well there’s a lot going on in the Disability arena at the moment. We have a new Disability Rights Commissioner, the disability advocate and former paralympian Paula Tesoriero, who brings lots of experience and energy to the role. We look forward to working with Paula and interviewing her, hopefully for our next newsletter issue.

The ODI Team has been busy with the New Zealand Disability Strategy Revision Reference Group developing the Outcomes Framework. It’s a very in-depth process, and a longer one than we originally thought, but everyone will have the opportunity to feedback on the draft indicators when the Framework goes out for public consultation in the New Year.

The Outcomes Framework development process is being led by Jacinda Keith. You can learn more about Jacinda in our Meet an ODI Member article, which is going to be a regular feature over our next few issues as we introduce the different members of ODI.

We’re really pleased that new disability data is starting to emerge as a result of the “Washington Group Short Set of Questions” being added to various national surveys. The New Zealand Well-being Statistics were released in July, and we learned in August that the question set was going to be added to the 2018 Census. This was a great win for the Disability Data and Evidence Group, and ODI, and should result in a wealth of new information about disability. All this new data will be beneficial for our reporting obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; for service planning and practice; and, potentially, to provide evidence of improvement for our Outcome Framework indicators.

And finally, I can’t sign-off without mentioning the General Election on Saturday 23 September. It’s your right to vote. The disability sector has worked with the Electoral Commission in past years to make it easier for people to enrol and vote in general elections – there's more on this below.

Kind Regards,

Brian Coffey

Progress on the development of the Disability Strategy Outcomes Framework

Photo of the NZ Disability Strategy Revision Reference Group
New Zealand Disability Strategy Revision Reference Group

We are now aiming to take a set of draft indicators to the post-election government to seek their approval for public consultation. If we can get the Draft Outcomes Framework through Cabinet in November or December 2017, we hope to be able to start public consultation in February/March 2018.

In August, the New Zealand Disability Strategy Revision Reference Group had a very productive two-day meeting where they came up with a set of possible indicators for the Outcomes Framework. We now have a long list of 34 possible indicators. Over the next few months we will be working with government agencies, and other key groups, to refine these indicators and look at how they might be measured.

Watch this space, and check out the ODI website and our Facebook page for announcements about the public consultation, and how you can have your say.

A step towards greater choice and control in the disability support system

 A high-level design of the new disability support system has been shared with the sector after a group worked intensively for several months. The co-design group included disabled people, whānau, service organisations and government representatives.

Work will now begin on the detailed design and, mid next year, the transformation of the disability support system will begin to be rolled out through a prototype in the MidCentral region - Palmerston North, Horowhenua, Manawatu, Otaki and Tararua districts - on July 1, 2018.

The new system will include:

  • an information hub that will provide a variety of ways to make contact and be contacted
  • capability funding for disabled people and whānau to build their skills
  • support to expand peer and whānau networks.

The new funding model is expected to reduce assessment and provide opportunities for investment, as well as increasing choice and control for disabled people and their family and whānau.

Find out more about the transformation of the disability support system . (Information is also available in Te Reo, Easy Read PDF and Word files, audio and a Braille file).

Voting in the General Election – it’s your right!

If you are aged 18 years or over, are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident and have lived in New Zealand continuously for some time in your life, you have the right to vote in the upcoming General Election on Saturday 23 September, but you have to be enrolled first, by Friday 22 September.

It is mandated in the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability that “countries ensure equal participation in political and public life, including the right to vote, to stand for elections and to hold office”.

The disability sector has worked with the Electoral Commission in past years to make it easier for people to enrol and vote in general elections, by providing:

  • information in accessible formats including Braille, large-print, audio format and screenreader files
  • information and consultation opportunities in New Zealand Sign Language – see NZSL video guide
  • DVD resource kits and facilitation guides for voters with an intellectual disability
  • Plain English resources including posters and booklets
  • voting guides in multiple languages .

How to enrol

The Electoral Commission website has a section Enrol and vote with a disability . If you need more information you can contact the Register of Electors in your area .

If you’re unable to fill out an enrolment form, a support person can help you, or fill in the form on your behalf, as long as you sign it.

There are further options for people who are unable to sign the form or are mentally unable to complete the form – see the Electoral Commission website .

How to vote

  • Support people are allowed to help people vote at the voting place, including reading out and marking the voting papers according to your instructions.
  • If you’re unable to get to a voting place, between 9am and 7pm on Saturday 23 September, there are other options:
    • vote in person  at an advance voting place(from Monday 11 September) . Information about advance voting places , including  locations and opening hours, or you can call 0800 36 76 56
    • apply in advance for to get voting papers sent to you by post. Contact your local Returning Officer
    • apply in advance for a “takeaway vote” and to have someone come and collect the voting papers for you.
  • If you’re blind, partially blind or have another physical disability that prevents you from marking your ballot paper without assistance you can vote by Telephone Dictation Voting .
    • You need to register to use this service by Thursday 21 September, 7pm by calling 0800 028 028. Your last chance to vote using Telephone Dictation is on Election Day, Saturday 23 September from 9am to 7pm.
  • If you’re in a rest home or hospital, the Electoral Commission will send teams to deliver voting services.

This is just a summary. For full information, including where and when you can vote and who you can vote for, go to  or call 0800 36 76 56.

Congratulations Capital & Coast, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa DHBs on Sub Regional Disability Strategy

Photo, from left, Ashley Bloomfield, Paul Gibson, Pauline Boyles and Rose Wall
From left, Ashley Bloomfield, Paul Gibson, Pauline Boyles and Rose Wall

The Sub Regional Disability Strategy 2017-2022, covering the Wairarapa, Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast District Health Board regions, is modelled on the New Zealand Disability Strategy (both the 2001, and updated 2016) as a strategy for health services within the regions. The Strategy, which was officially launched in June, aims to build on the significant work already achieved since 2013 to improve health service responsiveness for people with disabilities.

From ODI’s perspective, it’s great to see the New Zealand Disability Strategy as one of the foundational documents guiding the work of these District Health Boards in addressing disability issues, as it honours the hopes and dreams of the disabled people we consulted with during its development. Focussing agencies and organisations on the outcome areas that will make a difference to disabled people is at the very heart of the New Zealand Disability Strategy.

As with the national strategy, the Sub Regional Strategy was developed using a co-design process. Expert input came from a group of leaders, including those with lived experience of disability, who made up the Sub Regional Disability Advisory Group, as well as other partners. A wider group of stakeholders had the opportunity to give feedback at a full-day forum held in June 2016. Participants included the Minister for Disability Issues, the CEOs of Wairarapa, Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast DHBs, and consumers and leaders from across the sector.

 The group created some guiding principles to ensure the strategy remained focussed on the prevalent issues that were raised at the forums.

 “These six principles hold the voices, the values and the aspirations of the disability communities within the Greater Wellington region:

 1. Creation of an enabling and more accessible environment.

2. Inclusion of disabled people in the design of all services and activities.

3. Movement towards a holistic model of wellbeing that improves health outcomes for disabled people.

4. Improved support for people to make well informed decisions.

5. Strategies that build community resilience.

6. Active commitment to strengthening leadership and partnership across the sector.”

The new plan outlines the actions and outcomes required to achieve necessary change over the next 5 years and beyond. Its intention is to give a clear direction for health sector leaders to work alongside disability communities in addressing inequities and ensuring better health outcomes.

Read the full Sub Regional Disability Strategy 2017-2022 .

ODI welcomes new and emerging disability data

Disability-identifying questions added to national surveys

In the last issue, we reported that a new set of disability questions (the Washington Group Short Set) is to be included in the Household Labour Force Survey.

This issue, we are even more delighted because it was announced in August  that the same question set is to be included in the 2018 Census. As the largest population survey we have in New Zealand, this will provide a wealth of new data about how we are all living, with the ability to specifically identify disabled people’s experiences.

Release of the New Zealand Well-being Statistics 2016

Furthermore, in July, Stats NZ released the results from the New Zealand General Social Survey, first survey in New Zealand to include the new disability question set. The data is referred to as the New Zealand Well-being Statistics 2016.

If you’ve not had a chance to look at it yet, it includes some useful information about the well-being of New Zealanders. It includes comparative data for disabled and non-disabled people across a range of social and economic outcomes. These include subjective measures of overall life satisfaction, financial well-being, housing, social contact and loneliness, culture and identity, highest qualification, household income, personal income, housing tenure, family type, migrant status, ethnicity, and disability status. Information is further broken down by age, sex, and labour force status.

New Zealand Well-being Statistics will be available again in two years, and every two years thereafter.

Go to New Zealand Wellbeing Statistics 2016  and see Table 14 in the two xls spread sheets for well-being and social identity outcomes for disability status.

The Office for Disability Issues welcomes this new data, as we hope it will contribute to the development of better policy and practice that works for disabled people.

Meet ODI member ... Jacinda Keith

Welcome to this new regular feature where you get to meet members of the ODI Team.


Jacinda Keith, Senior Advisor, Office for Disability Issues
Jacinda Keith


First up is Jacinda Keith, who joined the Office for Disability Issues in November 2015 as a Senior Advisor with a stakeholder engagement focus.

What did you do before joining the ODI Team?

After five years working as an analytical chemist, I realised I was going to need a career change. My vision was deteriorating, due to a degenerative eye condition, so I knew a long-term career in applied science was unsustainable.

After a two-year working holiday in the UK, I spent almost 10 years with the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) in Wellington. My roles at MfE included promotion of sustainable business practices, and fund management focussing on waste minimisation and community environmental projects.

What are your biggest challenges in your role at ODI? What has surprised you most about what you’ve learnt?

Having not previously worked in the Disability Sector, starting with ODI required a steep learning curve before launching straight into taking a lead role in ODIs revision of the New Zealand Disability Strategy during 2016. I particularly enjoyed the public consultation that we did for the Strategy revision. Getting out to the regions, meeting real New Zealanders and having the privilege of hearing people’s stories and understanding their perspectives first hand was definitely a highlight. I am attempting to learn New Zealand Sign Language, which is challenging for someone with a visual impairment! Although my ‘conversations’ tend to be a little one sided at the moment, I love the language, it makes a lot of sense to me, and am keen to continue learning.

And what about outside work, how do you like to spend your time?

Outside of work you will find me doing my other full-time job, being a Mum to two fantastic kids. I attempt to encourage them to be the best little humans that they can be. I try to keep fit and healthy and enjoy jogging and walking the hills of Wellington and skiing when the climate allows. I love socialising with family and friends and if that can coincide with watching the All Blacks trounce the Aussies or the Springboks, even better!

Sharing your stories

We now have eight strategy in action stories published on our website – one for every outcome in the Disability Strategy. Please keep them coming – we love hearing from you.

If you have an initiative or a story you want to share that incorporates the Strategy’s principles, approach or focus on outcomes, we would love to hear from you -

The story in the spotlight this issue is… Employment programme in Auckland - Autism New Zealand.

Autism NZ's Auckland Employment Programme supports job seekers on the autism spectrum

 With the support of funding from the Ministry of Social Development, Autism NZ is supporting jobseekers on the autism spectrum in all parts of the employment process: identifying career options, writing CVs, practising interview skills, accompanying clients to job interviews and post-placement support. This service is currently limited to the Auckland region.

 A young man with autism talks about the success he’s had using this service:

“The first organisation I went to for help with getting a job didn’t understand, so I just had to ditch them…I was terrified after that experience and felt like I couldn’t approach any other organisation. I gave up hope of finding a good job.”

He then heard about the Autism NZ’s Employment Programme.

“I was scared of putting myself out there again. But I knew I had to try.”

The employment facilitator spent time getting to know him and practising with him for the interview, which was important for his confidence.

“The employment facilitator saw potential in me and had faith. It’s like she could see my vision and just wanted to help me make it come true. When you find someone fighting for you, it gives you the strength to fight for yourself as well.”

The young man was accompanied by his facilitator for the first few days of work and she assisted him with his training, which helped him settle into the job successfully. The young man now helps with the training of new staff.

“I want to see other people like me thrive, all around New Zealand. Some of us feel neglected and put down once we’ve turned 18. We still need a lot of help after leaving school, and services like Autism NZ’s Employment Programme can help.”

Resources and Guidance to support the implementation of Outcome 2 - Employment

Download handout with Resources section [PDF, 27th9 KB]

Vote on a new name for our newsletter!

We are yet to announce the new name for our newsletter. We’ve been debating it here in the Office, and we’ve come up with a shortlist, but we’d like you to vote on it on our Facebook page

We hope to unveil the new name in our next issue. Watch this space!


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