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ODI Newsletter May 2017

ODI Newsletter May 2017

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Message from the Minister for Disability Issues Nicky Wagner

Greetings to you all
This week is New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Week (8 - 14 May 2017), which is a great opportunity to celebrate NZSL and learn more about Deaf culture in New Zealand.

I recently had the pleasure of attending the launch of Learn NZSL, a free interactive web tool where you can learn NZSL online. Learn NZSL gives New Zealanders the opportunity to learn NZSL for free, at anytime, anywhere, and any place from . The mobile friendly website covers everyday vocabulary, phrases and conversations, supported by interactive tasks and 660 videos. Learn NZSL was developed by the Deaf Studies Research Unit at the Victoria University of Wellington, with support from the Government through the NZSL Fund. I encourage you all to give it a go!
The NZSL Board will soon be announcing the successful applicants for the third round of the NZSL Fund. One project will support NZSL interpreting and teaching, another is developing vital healthcare information in NZSL, and there are others focused on supporting families to use NZSL with their Deaf children.  The full list of recipients will be available on the ODI website.

I would also like to acknowledge the passing of three prominent and long standing advocates and leaders for disabled people.  All three had a lived experience of disability. I know their energy, leadership, and commitment will be missed.  As leading experts in the field of access for disabled people, Alexia Pickering and Bill Wrightson both received honours in recognition of their contributions.   Jim Morunga likewise received accolades for his tireless work to help young people, particularly young Māori, get the best chance to achieve in life. Jim was also a former President of the Disabled Person’s Organisation Ngāti Kāpo o Aotearoa.

Best wishes


Transforming the disability support system

On 2 March 2017, the Minister for Disability Issues Nicky Wagner announced the beginning of a nationwide transformation of the disability support system. The transformation is starting with a three month co-design process with the disability sector. It will be based on the Enabling Good Lives vision and principles and will include a social investment approach, which is about spending/investing money up front/early where this will produce better life outcomes for people in the long term and may also reduce long term costs to government.   It will build on lessons learnt from Enabling Good Lives demonstrations in Waikato and Christchurch, as well as evidence from here and overseas.

Co-design workshop
Co-design workshop

There have now been two workshops held by the co-design team. Questions about the scope of the transformation were answered and a working definition of the Mainstream First principle was agreed to during the second workshop. The Ministry of Health’s Sacha O’Dea is the Programme Lead, on the System Transformation and is keen to keep the disability sector informed.  You can read all about what was discussed at the workshop on the Enabling Good Lives’ website, as well as on the ODI and Ministry of Health’s websites. You can contribute to the co-design process by submitting ideas or suggestions to Find out more at: System Transformation updates .

Disability Strategy update

The New Zealand Disability Strategy guides the work of government agencies on disability issues for the next 10 years, helping the Government make the right decisions on what to focus on. 

This year ODI is also developing an Outcomes Framework which will have specific targets and indicators to help measure progress against the Strategy and to ensure the strategy is making a difference to the lives of disabled people. ODI is also continuing to work with government agencies as it’s important that we keep the Strategy front of mind through government priority setting and policy development. Adoption of the Strategy isn’t limited only to government agencies.  It can be used by any individual or organisation who wants to make the best decisions on things that are important to disabled people. 

We are also keen to hear how organisations are incorporating the Strategy’s principles, approaches and outcomes into their everyday operations. You can download  a copy of the Strategy from our website or email us at for printed copies which are available in accessible formats.

Minister Wagner’s April Disability Forum

We had a good turn out with over 90 people attending the Minister’s second Disability Forum, which focused on the transformation of the disability support system.

April Disability Forum
April Disability Forum

It was a great opportunity for attendees to ask questions and talk directly to government officials and panel members from the National Enabling Good Lives Leadership Group.  In addition a fire alarm, just prior to the start of the meeting, tested the Ministry of Social Development’s evacuation processes for disabled people.  You can read the list of these questions and answers on our website. 

A new employer advice line

Work and Income is trialling an employer advice line that can answer questions about managing staff who have a disability or health condition. This free phone service is available to all employers who need advice on how to support their staff, whether it’s a current staff member or someone they’re recruiting.

The free phone number is 0800 805 405 and operating hours are Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

We know that most disabled people and people with health conditions need no or little support – and generally the best option is to talk to the person directly. The employer advice line is available as an additional resource to ensure that this support is in place if it is needed.

Who can use the service?

The employer advice line is available for any business owners, managers and HR staff.

What does the service cover?

The employer advice line will give employers advice on options to support their staff member, approaches they could take, and information about the support and services available to them.

Employers can ask any questions about how best to manage and support their staff. For example, it could be issues relating to:  

  • chronic health conditions
  • mental health conditions
  • returning to work after illness or surgery
  • working around any restrictions or limitations
  • support funds
  • accessible recruitment processes
  • managing a disabled staff member
  • creating a supportive, inclusive team 

For more information

Go to the MSD website - Employer Advice Line

Go to the Work and Income website - Information for employers

Report on the review of disabled people-led monitoring

The review of disabled people-led monitoring is now complete. The review looked at the effectiveness and efficiency of the ‘disabled people-led monitoring of their rights’ initiative in New Zealand and provided recommendations to inform future arrangements. ODI will be publishing the final report on our website in the upcoming weeks.

Disabled people-led monitoring promotes, protects and monitors implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In New Zealand, the Convention Coalition Monitoring Group currently oversees this function. They govern a programme of disabled people interviewing other disabled people about the experience of their rights under the Convention.

Read more about disabled people-led monitoring

Youth Awards 2017

Shane McInroe has been recognised for his contribution to the disability community in the recent Youth Awards. Shane is a member of the team working on the transformation of the disability support system.

Download the PDF to checkout the five winners of the Youth with Disability award announced 11 April 2017  (PDF)

ODI refreshed website

Following the refresh of the ODI website at the end of last year, you may need to update any links you have to our website.  We have also updated our logo and include two variations here that you may want to use on your website when linking to ours.

Download the ODI logos [ZIP, 12 KB]

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