New Ministry for Disabled People commences on July 1

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Establishment Governance Group Co-Chair Gerri Pomeroy
(Photo from Life Unlimited)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, June 30, 2022

For the first time in the history of New Zealand, a Ministry to serve exclusively the interests of Disabled People is being established.

Establishment Governance Group Co-Chair Gerri Pomeroy said that the Ministry is being established to transform the disability support system and make it effective in important areas such as education, employment and wellbeing.

“Many disabled people face barriers in achieving great life outcomes because of the way the current system is set up, and this needs to change. The new Ministry presents a unique opportunity because its role is to both listen to and empower the voices of all disabled people in disability policy across government and to deliver services,” she said.

Ms Pomeroy said that the new Ministry has been built on a foundation of partnership and principles and that they must endure to ensure a truly different kind of Ministry that disabled people and their families deserve.

Treaty and UN Convention

The Ministry’s work will be underpinned by Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as well as the principles of Enabling Good Lives. Disability support services will be shifted from the Ministry of Health.

Establishment of the Ministry

In the lead-up to the new Ministry, the Establishment Unit has focused on transitioning systems and operations and ensuring that disability supports continue through the change.

Setting the identity, vision and strategy of the new Ministry, and embarking on disability system transformation, will be led by the new Chief Executive and his or her team in partnership with the community.

Period of consolidation

According to Ms Pomeroy, there will be a period of consolidation as the new Ministry embeds its functions and assesses options. Thereafter, it will drive better outcomes for all disabled people by transforming disability support services, leading and coordinating cross-government strategic disability policy, and progressing change in the wider disability system.

“The voices of disabled people and collaboration with the disability community will be central to how this new ministry operates, give life to the call for ‘nothing about us without us’ and hence values and delivery,” Ms Pomeroy said.

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