Sunday, May 26, 2024

New Ministry for Disabled People to lead system transformation

Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni says the establishment of a Ministry for Disabled People to lead and coordinate strategic disability policy across government and progress work on transforming the wider disability system will deliver real change for the disability community.

“People will continue to receive disability support services, but from 1 July they will come from the new ministry. This is the start of a move towards a ‘whole-of-life’ approach to disability rather than viewing disability as a ‘health issue,” the Minister said today.

Today’s Budget revealed a $100 million investment in the new ministry, which will be headed up by a Chief Executive.

“Once a chief executive is in place, establishment has been completed including recruitment of people with the skills and experience needed, and operations have been fine-tuned, the new ministry will begin work to address the systemic issues that impact disabled people,” the Ministry said.

Approximately one in four New Zealanders currently identify as having a disability.

“Disabled people face significant obstacles to wellbeing, including disproportionate representation in poverty statistics and experiences of inaccessibility and discrimination.”

“The new Ministry will also lead and coordinate strategic disability policy across government and progress work on transforming the wider disability system, to enhance the mana, and improve the lives of disabled people. This will include influencing areas such as employment, education, health and wellbeing.”

Budget 2022 also progresses the implementation of the Enabling Good Lives approach to Disability Support Services across New Zealand, she said.

“The aim is to transform how disability support services are delivered by setting the foundations to more broadly apply the Enabling Good Lives principles based on the three current pilot sites. Disabled people will have more personalised services and opportunities to choose how they live a good life, such as control over how their personalised funding is used to meet their unique needs.”

“In addition to Budget 2022’s disability package, the Government is also investing $11 million so more disabled people can access the services they need. An additional 370 disabled people will be able to access contracted Community Participation places per year by the 2023/24 fiscal year.

“New Zealand as a whole benefits from better inclusion of disabled people in society, including from enormous untapped skills that can make a big contribution to New Zealand’s labour market,” Ms Sepuloni said.

She said Budget 2022 will ease cost pressures on Government disability support services including from price increases due to inflation and increases in service volumes due to demand.

“This Government is also investing in family carers by ensuring that parents, spouses and resident family members can be paid for support services if they provide care to a family member who has been assessed as having more than ‘very low’ needs.

“This will enable people with health support needs to exercise greater choice about the supports they receive, their chosen living environment and who provides their care and support. This also means that family members who provide care are better recognised for their care work.

“Budget 2022 paves the way for long-term change for disabled people and their whānau. It highlights this Government’s commitment to better outcomes for disabled people,” Ms Sepuloni said.

Cabinet has tasked the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) with establishing and hosting the new agency.

The new agency will ultimately be functionally and operationally autonomous from MSD, once it has established itself and is in a good position to carry out its functions and mandate, the Minister said.

Given the scale and scope of the new agency, MSD has set up a dedicated Establishment Unit to support its establishment, and the transition of MoH functions.

The new Ministry will take effect from 1 July 2022.

New Ministry for Disabled People – Ministry of Social Development (msd.govt.nz)

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