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ODI Newsletter - 6 March 2017

Message from the Minister for Disability Issues Nicky Wagner

Greetings to you all — I hope you’ve had a great summer enjoying time with family and friends.

2017 is shaping up to be another important year for the disability sector.

We all know the current disability support system doesn’t work well for everyone, so I’m pleased to say a system-wide overhaul is now underway. What we’re working toward is a new system, based on the Enabling Good Lives vision and principles, including individualised funding. This approach is about ensuring disabled people and their families have greater control over their lives, as well as the support they receive from government.

The Ministry of Health and disability sector will work together over the next three months to co-design the new system. Input from the sector, from design to implementation, is absolutely vital. More information about how to get involved can be found on the Office for Disability Issues website.

At the same time, work is underway to implement the revised New Zealand Disability Strategy. Our next step is to develop an Outcomes Framework and, once again, sector involvement and feedback is a top priority. The consultation period, run by the Office for Disability Issues, will begin in the coming months and I urge everyone to have their say!

I’m looking forward to another busy and productive year as we all work toward our vision of New Zealand as a place where disabled people have an equal opportunity to achieve their goals and aspirations.

Best wishes,


Minister’s Disability Forum – 6 April 2017 – Save the date

Following the success of the Minister’s Disability Forum in December 2016, a second forum is being planned.

The forum will be held at the Wellington offices of the Ministry of Social Development on Thursday 6 April 2017 from 10am to 12pm.

The forum will focus on the transformation of the disability support system and Enabling Good Lives. Please save the date if you are interested in attending. Further details will follow in our next newsletter, on our website and through our Facebook page .

Introducing Acting Director Brian Coffey 

The Acting Director of the Office for Disability Issues for the next three months is Brian Coffey.

Brian is directing the office following the departure of previous director Megan McCoy who is taking up a role with the World Health Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland.

Brian comes to the Office from his role as Group Manager – Special Education Strategy and Service Improvement at the Ministry of Education. He has been involved with a lot of the Office’s work, including the New Zealand Disability Strategy revision, Disability Action Plan and New Zealand Sign Language.

Applications for permanent role: Director of Office for Disability Issues

Do you want an exciting leadership opportunity within government and the disability sector? Are you passionate about the rights of disabled people and making New Zealand a more inclusive country? Do you enjoying developing relationships both within and outside government?

Then you might like to apply for the role of Director of the Office for Disability Issues.

The Director has a prominent role both across government agencies, within the disability sector and more broadly. This is a unique leadership position, which provides opportunities to influence and direct strategic and meaningful changes in the lives of disabled people, their families and communities more generally.

Applications for the role, which is being advertised by the Ministry of Social Development, close this Thursday 9 March 2017.

See the advert for a new Director 

Next steps on implementation of the New Zealand Disability Strategy

Work is underway to ensure that progress toward achieving the outcomes of the New Zealand Disability Strategy can be measured.

This will involve the development of an Outcomes Framework which will specify targets and indicators that will be regularly reported on.

Developing an Outcomes Framework like this is pretty new internationally so it is important to get it right. This will involve getting advice from disabled people, the disability sector and other government agencies.

The Office for Disability Issues is planning a public consultation on a draft Outcomes Framework in mid-2017.

Find out more about the New Zealand Disability Strategy 

Supporting disabled people’s exercise of legal capacity

The Office for Disability Issues recently hosted an informal gathering of some organisations working to promote a better understanding of barriers to disabled people exercising their legal capacity.

There is a growing understanding in New Zealand, and around the world, that more needs to be done so that disabled people can have more choice and control over their lives. However, it is a difficult issue to progress with challenges from established practice and the need to balance safeguards and protections for vulnerable people as well as empowering their autonomy in decision making.

The Office for Disability Issues will continue to work this year with interested stakeholders to promote support for disabled people’s exercise of their legal capacity. You can find out more on the issues impacting on disabled people and what the Office for Disability Issues is doing in this area on our website.

See more about the promotion of choice and control

New health responsibilities for Minister Wagner

Hon Nicky Wagner was recently appointed Associate Minister of Health in the reshuffle of Ministerial responsibilities.

Her responsibilities now include Disability Support Services funded and managed by the Ministry of Health for people under 65 years of age, tobacco, aged care, and Pacific Health. She is also responsible for Health Cert, oversight of the Health and Disability (Safety) Act 2001 and forensic mental health services.

Find out more about her new responsibilities

Support for Work and Income clients starting work

Work and Income wants to ensure all its disabled clients and clients with a health condition know that when they move into work, they can get information and advice to help them with any concerns that crop up.

While many are able to deal with these concerns themselves, providing suitable support to people and their employers helps people stay in work successfully. Work and Income is trialling two new services:

  • An intensive in-work support service to provide tailored support to clients to assist them to remain in sustainable employment.
  • An Employer Advice Line , 0800 805 405, for employers to ask any questions and develop their confidence to manage disabled staff and staff with health conditions, whether it’s someone they’re recruiting, or a current staff member.

For more information, go to Moving into work on the Work and Income website.

Barriers to attending overseas forums removed

Disabled people can now attend disability forums overseas and still continue to receive their benefit for up to 12 weeks per year while they are out of the country.

This change ensures that New Zealand’s benefit and absence rules are more consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Any disabled person who wants to attend a disability forum overseas will need to advise Work and Income prior to leaving New Zealand either by My Account, frontline, call centre or by letter.

Read the Social Security Amendment regulation   

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