DPA cautiously supports the overall focus of the budget policy statement with the strong proviso that disabled people’s rights are upheld in the delivery of the stated goals.

Disabled People and Covid-19

DPA asks that disabled people be explicitly included in the budget measures and that Budget 2023 contains resourcing to implement the detailed recommendations of Ngā Kawekawe o Mate Korona, a report examining the impact of Covid-19, including long Covid, in Aotearoa NZ.

This report follows an earlier report by the Independent Monitoring Mechanism (IMM) in 2021 that highlighted the realities and challenges disabled people in NZ faced during the Covid-19 emergency

DPA asks that resourcing be provided in Budget 2023 to:

  • Significantly reduce barriers to access to primary health care, especially for Tangata Whenua, including tāngata whaikaha, for Pasifika peoples, and for disabled Tāngata Tiriti. Supports such as transport or home services are needed to ensure equity of access.
  • Ensure that when advice, public health messaging and Covid-19 support information of any kind is being communicated, that messaging reaches tāngata whaikaha Māori and disabled Tāngata Tiriti at the same time as non-disabled people, with no delay.
  • Ensure there are easy-to-use, accessible options for disabled people so they can report adverse reactions or unmet health needs and the system responds in a timely manner.
  • Ensure that long Covid is recognised as a disability to allow access to financial and practical support.
  • Establish a national long Covid centre to support local long Covid clinics.
  • Set aside sufficient resourcing for the IMM 2021 report recommendations to be implemented in full. In particular, resourcing measures to ensure significantly improved access for disabled people to food, transport, habilitation services, housing, and public spaces.
  • Contain significant resourcing for measures to improve health literacy and access to primary health care for disabled people especially for people with a learning disability.

Accelerating the Recovery: Including Disabled People

Many of the projects that have been flagged for investment in building back from Covid-19 involve transport and housing projects. Both are areas where disabled people face major barriers to access and where lack of access has a major impact on our lives and ability to live independently in the community.
DPA asks that:

  • any funding in budget 2023 tagged for infrastructure projects also mandate that they meet the highest possible accessibility standards.

Laying the Foundations for the Future: Disabled People and Climate Change

DPA strongly supports investment in the transition to a climate-resilient, sustainable and low-emissions economy with the proviso that:

  • investment is done in a way that does not lock in inequality for disabled people; and recognises us as experts in our own lives and leaders in equitable solutions.

Low-Emissions Transport: Electric Vehicles and Disabled People

The current shift from petrol or diesel vehicles to low emissions public transport and electric vehicles, if not done appropriately, can have negative impacts for disabled people. DPA asks that:

  • Budget 2023 sets up a grant or subsidy to support disabled people to purchase suitable electric vehicles. Disabled people who need larger vehicles to transport wheelchairs must not be disadvantaged by the phasing out of more affordable petrol and diesel versions.

Accessible Housing

DPA is concerned that the scarcity of affordable and accessible rental housing is putting disabled people in significant hardship. DPA asks that:

  • Budget 2023 significantly increase investment in safe accessible state homes so that no disabled person is left homeless or stranded in inaccessible or temporary housing.
  • A target be set for 100% of new public housing to fully include universal design.

Addressing Child Poverty: including disabled children

Disabled children are far more likely to live in poverty and experience material hardship than non-disabled children. Children who live in a household where at least one person is disabled are also over twice as likely to experience material hardship than children in households with no disabled people. To lift disabled children out of poverty, DPA asks that Budget 2023:

  • Substantially increases the rate of the Child Disability Allowance to help mitigate the impact of disability on disabled children and their whānau
  • Reforms the application process to make it more accessible as recommended by the Child Poverty Action Group 2016 report.
  • Changes the Disability Allowance to at least the current maximum and simplifies the application process to be more accessible and equitable in its distribution. This will benefit children living in households where a parent or other household member is disabled.

Read the full DPA submission on the Budget Policy Statement 2023 [Word Doc]