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

Establishment Unit, new ministry for disabled people (name since confirmed Whaikaha Ministry of Disabled People) - The DPO Coalition is very pleased that Whaikaha – the Ministry of Disabled People was launched on 1 July. At the June meeting the DPO Coalition met with Justine Cornwall, Director of the Establishment Unit for the Ministry.

They discussed the complex transition to the new Ministry, the appointment process for the new Chief Executive, decision-making processes and governance arrangements. The Coalition emphasized the importance of ensuring that accessibility requirements are met when the new Ministry purchases services. This includes ensuring that procurement requirements are followed.

Donald Beasley Institute - The DPO Coalition met with the disabled person-led monitoring team from the Donald Beasley Institute (DBI). The Coalition congratulated the team for releasing each of the Housing, and Health and Wellbeing reports.

The reports have been received by the public, participants and Ministers and have been covered by media. Copies of the reports are available in five alternate formats (New Zealand Sign Language, braille, large print, Easy Read and audio), on DBI's Disabled Person-Led Monitoring Reports webpage or by contacting the DPO Coalition or individual DPOs.

Ministry of Social Development - The DPO Coalition met with officials from the Ministry of Social Development. They discussed the release of a recent Cabinet paper about developing new accessibility legislation. Plans are now being made for the upcoming select committee process to discuss this proposed new law. The DPO Coalition emphasized the need for the process to be fully accessible and endorsed suggestions for an extended public consultation period.

Ministry of Justice - Officials from the Ministry of Justice met with the DPO Coalition about improving community engagement on international human rights issues. Instead of engaging when they need to report to international treaty bodies, the Ministry is considering engaging more regularly and more broadly. They are looking for a more reciprocal and mutually beneficial process, rather than it just being a reporting process.

Disability Rights Commissioner - The DPO Coalition met with the Lead Advisor to the Disability Rights Commissioner. They discussed the report for the ‘Inquiry into the Support of Disabled People and Whānau during Omicron’, as well as reports that were recently released on the violence and abuse experienced by disabled people and tāngata whaikaha Māori.

They also discussed a social change campaign that is being developed called Project Mobilise. This campaign will have a focus on building the visibility of disabled people and mobilising for change around community-driven issues. The DPO Coalition will provide feedback as this project is developed further.

Education Review Office - An official from the Education Review Office’s research and evaluation centre met with the Coalition to discuss their review into quality inclusive education. This review has involved wide engagement and has focused strongly on the perspectives of disabled learners. The project considered Article 24 of the Disability Convention – the right of persons with disabilities to an education. The DPO Coalition looks forward to the publication of this important review in August.

Te Huia Bill Hamilton - The DPO Coalition welcomed Te Huia Bill Hamilton. We discussed tūrangawaewae, whakapapa, rangatiratanga and Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The DPO Coalition has further conversations planned with Te Huia Bill Hamilton about Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Office for Disability Issues - The DPO Coalition met with officials from the Office for Disability Issues. They discussed the development of the new ministry for disabled people and the transition to the new ministry on July 1, the recruitment of disabled people to the public service and the monitoring of the Disability Action Plan.

Independent Monitoring Mechanism - The DPO Coalition partners with the Human Rights Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman to form the “Independent Monitoring Mechanism (IMM)”. The IMM has completed a report on disability rights in New Zealand that will be presented to the United Nations International Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The IMM is finalizing plans to publicly release the report early in August 2022. The report will be available in Te Reo, New Zealand Sign Language, Braille, large print, Easy Read and audio.

United Nations Examination of New Zealand’s implementation of the Disability Convention - The Coalition discussed the upcoming examination in Geneva. The Coalition also discussed drafting their shadow report (a report by non-governmental civil society). This will focus on General Comment No 7 which says that representative organisations of disabled people should be supported to participate in the implementation and monitoring of the Disability Convention.

Congratulations to Gaylene Te Rauna and Bridget Sneddon - The DPO Coalition congratulates Gaylene and Bridget for their Queens Birthday Honours, awarded for service to disabled people.

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.