New ministry for people with disabilities gives hope for better and fairer services
The government’s announcement that it will shift funding for people with disabilities from the Department of Health and Department of Social Development to a new Department of People with Disabilities gives hope that people with disabilities will finally have a government agency that will treat them as a priority, rather than an afterthought, says Peter Reynolds, CEO of the New Zealand Disability Support Network.
“Treating disability as a health problem has not worked. Within the health care system, disability has always been low in the pecking order,” says Reynolds.
“People with disabilities need help to live a good life and health care is only part, sometimes a small part, of the picture. We hope that this new agency will take care of the lives of people with disabilities in a holistic way and implement the principles of Enabling Good Lives.
“For this to happen, the new ministry must be built by and for people with disabilities from the ground up. We welcome the commitment that the Accessibility Governance Council will be led by and represent people with disabilities and whānau We also want to see people with lived experience of disability support service providers included in the settlement group and in senior leadership positions in the ministry.
“The Department of Persons with Disabilities should also have addressing the needs of Maori and Pasifika disabled people at the heart of its mission. These groups are over-represented among New Zealanders with disabilities, and too often they fall through the cracks of the current day. system.
“An important way for the new agency to better help people with disabilities is to provide people with the same set at a higher standard than the support available to someone with a congenital disability. It is good to know that the government has officials looking to solve this problem.
“There are still a lot of details to work out, but we hope this represents a chance for a better future for New Zealanders with disabilities, and we will work with the government to realize this opportunity,” said Reynolds.
© Scoop Media