Members of the PSA Deaf and Disabled network say the new Ministry for Disabled People must employ, represent and consult with people with all disabilities.
The new ministry will lead ongoing transformation of the broader disability system across government.
The government has also announced it will introduce new law to make Aotearoa more accessible, establish a new Accessibility Governance board, and implement the Enabling Good Lives approach to disability services nationwide.
Our Deaf and Disabled network committee is cautiously optimistic about the potential for positive change and is particularly keen for disabled people to be at the forefront of the new ministry.
“We believe disabled people should have paid positions in the Ministry, not just be consulted for our experience and skills.”
“Government agencies need to be frontrunners in employing disabled people and it should be part of their key performance indicators.”
The new Ministry should also support other government agencies and businesses to employ and retain employees living with disabilities.
The committee would also like the Ministry to have a high profile and help to destigmatise disability in the workplace and the community.
The committee believes the Ministry must represent and consult with people with all disabilities.
It should take a lead in promoting the needs of disabled people, supporting other ministries and agencies to make their services more accessible.
Committee members are encouraged by efforts to improve the quality of life for disabled people by providing more accessible public transport, buildings and housing.
The new Ministry could help to simplify access to information about disability issues and government support, which is currently spread over multiple agencies
There are also hopes it will work to alleviate poverty for disabled people, and give them more control of their own support needs.
Our union represents over 9000 workers who provide care and support for disabled people.
PSA assistant secretary Melissa Woolley says the announcement of the new ministry is recognition of disabled people’s rights.
The union believes substantial investment in the massively underfunded sector is also needed, along with input from the disability community and those that support them to ensure high quality services are provided.