Disabled Persons Assembly Welcomes Funding for Ministry for Disabled People, but sees little in Budget 2022 to address inequity for disabled people

The Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) NZ welcomes the funding announced for the new Ministry for Disabled People, however we see nothing in Budget 2022 to specifically address inequity for disabled people right now.

“Of course it’s exciting to see funding for a Ministry for Disabled People included in the Budget for the first time. It seems there’s adequate funding there to enable continuity of current disability support services as they are, to do the work to set up the new Ministry and to work towards a national roll out of Enabling Good Lives,” DPA Chief Executive Prudence Walker says.

“However, this is just the start of a journey. We think it’s really next year’s Budget that will reveal how committed the Government actually are to achieving transformational change that will enable disabled people to live good lives.

“In the meantime, we are hugely disappointed at the lack of focus in the Budget on addressing specific inequity for disabled people among other initiatives”

“Most concerning is the lack of meaningful measures to address poverty for those disabled people who receive a benefit.

“More than half of beneficiaries are disabled people and people with long term health conditions and they, possibly more than most, are facing enormous increases in cost of living on top of disability related costs. It’s a huge disappointment to see that beneficiaries have been effectively excluded from the Cost of Living payment.

“There’s also no increase to the Disability Allowance, Child Disability Allowance, no changes to relationship rules, and no other increases to core benefits.

“This Government has again failed to address key measures that disabled people have been calling for year after year. Without these being addressed many disabled people will remain in poverty,” Ms Walker says.

Disabled people have poorer outcomes across all parts of life– including income, health, education, justice and employment. Across these sectors there is little in the Budget to address inequity for disabled people.

“Despite a strong commitment to Te Aorerekura, the National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence, there’s no explicit funding for disabled people who experience higher rates of family violence and sexual violence than any other population group.

“In education, we don’t see any increase in funding to support disabled children in schools, an increase that is desperately needed.

“In health, the lack of initiatives to improve the outcomes for disabled people is stark, but expected.

“When you look at how performance will be assessed, there are no targets for disabled people. For example, there are targets for the percentage of Māori, Pacific, and total populations for cervical screening, but none for disabled people.

“As there is no data collected on disabled people in the health system, it is impossible to set targets.

“What we would like to see is the data collected, and have targets for disabled people included in future budgets.”