A brief overview of the DPO Coalition's activities over the last month:

Health reforms - The DPO Coalition held a workshop with the Transition Unit about different aspects of the health reforms.

  • Legislation. Progress is being made on writing a bill to give effect to the health reforms. Cabinet needs to make some decisions, then the bill will be introduced to the House. As well as working on getting Cabinet approval, there is also work being done on helping people to access the bill and to give their feedback through the select committee process.
  • Health system performance assurance. It is important that there are ways to ensure that the health reforms result in positive changes for disabled people. The Coalition discussed a range of mechanisms including: legislation, strategies, planning tools, commissioning tools, organisational structure, workforce, community engagement and accountability. The need to meaningfully engage disabled people at all levels of the system was emphasised.
  • Interim New Zealand Health Plan working groups. There is a proposal to develop working groups related to the Interim New Zealand Health Plan. All of the working groups will be asked to make sure that they fully consider the needs of disabled people. Ways to engage with the DPO Coalition were discussed.
  • Commissioning Framework. There will need to be changes to how commissioning is done.  There needs to be a move from contracts that are low trust and high bureaucracy, to high trust and low bureaucracy. Commissioners in the current system will transfer to Health NZ and the Maori Health Authority. They will need to design services with communities, address differences in health between different groups, reflect Te Tiriti and work in partnership.

Media Content Review, Department of Internal Affairs - The Department of Internal Affairs is reviewing how content is regulated in New Zealand. The DPO Coalition met with the team leading the media content review.

The aim of the review is to ensure that all people can safely engage with content. The review has heard that there are concerns about the impact of content. Part of the review involves thinking about what harm means to different people. The DPO Coalition discussed how content can harm disabled people.

Disabled people are often invisible in television programmes and media. Young disabled people are growing up not seeing themselves anywhere. When disabled people are included, they are often presented with negative stereotypes/attitudes. Negative representations of disabled people impact on social expectations and opinion.

Electoral Participation Fund - The DPO Coalition met with a delegation from the Electoral Commission. The purpose of the Electoral Participation Fund is to support the participation of disabled people as candidates by covering disability-related costs.

The DPO Coalition provided advice on how to ensure that consultation about the fund is fully accessible and discussed the governance of the fund. The DPO Coalition looks forward to ongoing engagement and influencing outcomes as this work is rolled out.

He Waka eke Noa - The DPO Coalition met with Grace Stratton from All is for All, who is working on the He Waka eke Noa project. The He Waka eke Noa project focusses on leadership development in the health and disability system. The Ministry of Health has recognized that there is a fragmented approach to leadership development, and low representation of disabled people in the workforce.

The DPO Coalition discussed the barriers in the current system to disabled people becoming leaders. There is institutionalised discrimination, ableism, and a lack of understanding of disability rights. The DPO Coalition emphasised that as well as investing in disabled leaders, there needs to be investment in educating others on a human rights approach to disability.

End of Life Choice Act - The End of Life Choice Act came into force on 7 November. An assisted dying service is being implemented. The Ministry of Health would like to ensure that specific pathways for New Zealanders with disabilities are built into the service. There are safeguards built into the Act to protect people, including disabled people, from being pressured into accessing the service.

The DPO Coalition discussed the safeguards in the system with Ministry of Health officials. It is important that there are clear ways to measure how disabled people are using the service, to ensure they are not over- or under-represented.  

Thanking Penelope Banfield and welcoming Kris Roguski - The DPO Coalition expressed thanks to Penelope Banfield from People First New Zealand for her contribution to the Coalition over the past few years. The Coalition welcomed Kris Roguski, the new National Chairperson of People First.

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