The Government has announced the very welcome news that it will establish a new standalone Ministry for Disabled People.
This marks a fundamental change in the way people are viewed and valued as equal citizens. IHC has pushed for this change and for the Government to see individuals’ lives in their entirety – their income, support, housing, transport and more – rather than defining people by health need and diagnosis.
As our Director of Advocacy, Trish Grant, said at the time of the announcement, “Disabled people have long called for a system that is joined up and responds in a holistic way to who they are and what they need for a great life.”
More than half of the users of disability support services have intellectual disability as their primary diagnosis.
The new ministry, whose name is yet to be finalised, will be supported by the Ministry of Social Development.
The announcement comes alongside the Government’s commitment to rolling out Enabling Good Lives throughout the country. We hope to see the combined developments put the purchasing power and choice – with support as needed – into the hands of people with disabilities.
Work continues in the fight to ensure all children get a fair chance to attend their local schools and set goals and achieve them. In the longer term we would also like to see education covered by the Ministry for Disabled People to make it easier to put in place holistic, wrap-around services across the disability sector. We watch with great interest.
We look back on another tough year. As we talk about traffic-light systems for living with COVID we note how hard the lockdowns and COVID cases rollercoaster have been.
We know they have been tough on people with intellectual disabilities, staff and families and whānau. It has been a complicated time of rapidly changing guidelines and expectations, with encouragement to vaccinate being replaced with mandatory Health Orders.
We hope that 2022 will bring new discussions and hope; new energy for new initiatives in our sector.
Many of us will keep working over the holiday period. From all of us here at IHC, we wish you some rest, recreation and fun with friends and family.
Meri Kirihimete and enjoy your raumati.
Merry Christmas and enjoy your summer.
This story was published in Strong Voices. The magazine is posted free to all IHC members.
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