A brief overview of the Disabled People's Organisations (DPO) Coalition's recent activities:

Ministry of Social Development The DPO Coalition met with Miriam Mathews (Senior Policy Analyst), Maryam Ghorbanpour Rasekh (Policy Analyst), Erin Gough (Principal Policy Analyst), Alice Ansley (Senior Policy Analyst) and Louise Pirini (Manager Analytics, Social Wellbeing Agency).
The Ministry is working in partnership with the Social Wellbeing Agency and Manatū Hauora on a project about older people’s health, vulnerability, and multiple disadvantages.

The Coalition discussed improving outcomes for disabled people. They noted that there are an increasing number of disabled people who are living into their older years. Some of these people don’t have strong family support. The project is considering five life domains – finance, health, housing, social connections and accessibility.

The Coalition gave feedback that the accessibility domain was too narrow and doesn’t do the needs of disabled people justice.

The Coalition also discussed data and how to best identify and measure disabled people in the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI).

Manatū Hauora (Ministry of Health) – Kelly Palmer (Manager, Health of Disabled People Policy), Dr John Crawshaw (Director, Mental Health and Addiction) and Jo Burgi (Principal Advisor, Mental Health and Addiction) met with the Coalition to discuss the progress of Manatū Hauora is making against the Disability Action Plan.
The DPO Coalition monitors agency’s progress against the Disability Action Plan, alongside the Office for Disability Issues.

Manatū Hauora (Ministry of Health) is responsible for four actions in the Disability Action Plan.

One action is about improving health outcomes and access to services. Delays in progress in this area were acknowledged.

The DPO Coalition is expecting progress in this area soon, and is waiting to hear how Manatū Hauora will respond to the concluding observations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Coalition expressed concern that the Bodily Integrity action remains off track. No progress has been made in this important area for a long time. The Coalition reiterated the importance of this work.

The DPO Coalition was very pleased to learn of recent progress towards reducing seclusion, including the publication of new guidelines, and the launch of online learning modules for the workforce. A number of changes are being made, and we hope that they will contribute to significant progress.

Manatū Hauora is working to develop a new Health of Disabled People Strategy. This is one of six strategies required under the Pae Ora Act. The interim strategy will be finished by 30 June. The team discussed some themes that have emerged from their conversations in the sector.

The DPO Coalition will meet with Manatū Hauora again soon to discuss the development and implementation of the strategy.

Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People – The DPO Coalition met with Brian Coffey (Director, Office for Disability Issues) and Pauline Melham (Senior Advisor). They discussed the Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill, the Disability Convention being included in domestic legislation, partnership with Whaikaha and the New Zealand Sign Language Act review.

The Coalition discussed the recent review of progress against the Disability Action Plan and made plans to hold another workshop to review progress in November. In June the Coalition will be having a workshop to consider development of the next Disability Action Plan.

Crown Response to the Abuse in Care Inquiry – The DPO Coalition met with Debbie Hughes (Disability Lead), Polly Martin (Listening Service Lead), Elizabeth Begley (Senior Advisor), Jay Randle (Senior Advisor), Liam Cunnah (Senior Advisor), Donna Freebairn (Senior Engagement Advisor), Zsuzsa Szekely (Business Analyst), Rachel Jones (Senior Engagement Advisor) and Tom Fleming (Project Coordinator).

The Coalition appreciated the comprehensive update about the work of the Crown Response Unit. The Coalition will be involved as a key stakeholder in the design of the new independent listening service, and in work to improve access to records.

Stats NZ – Ronelle Baker (Principal Advisor, Accessibility), Melinda Clearwater (Senior Advisor, 2023 Census Customer Engagement Team), Katy Auberson (Design Analyst, Disability Insights) and Danielle Calder (Senior Advisor, Accessibility) met with the DPO Coalition.

Stats NZ provided an update about the 2023 census and progress against meeting targets. We learnt that there are some delays to the 2023 Disability Survey, because of the delays to the census.

The Coalition heard about planning for the Disability Survey, including how data will be collected. Interviews are scheduled to start in August and will be completed by December.

The Disability Survey will involve adults and children. Stats NZ will randomly select people, from the people who fill out the census. You can still fill out the census – visit the Census website | Stats NZ or call/relay 0800 236 787.

The DPO Coalition is: DPA, Blind Citizens NZ, People First NZ, Deaf Aotearoa, Balance Aotearoa and the Muscular Dystrophy Association of New Zealand.