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Promoting choice and control

Self determination for disabled people is a priority in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Disability Action Plan. It was also highlighted in feedback on the New Zealand Disability Strategy during public consultation in 2016. You can read more about the work that the Office for Disability Issues has been involved with in promoting choice and control for disabled people, including the recognition of supported decision making.

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Action to recognise support for disabled people's exercise of legal capacity
Key achievements
Other related information

Action to recognise support for disabled people's exercise of legal capacity

Since 2014, a priority in the Disability Action Plan has been 'Reducing barriers to disabled people making decisions to determine their own lives'.

One action under the priority is 'Ensure disabled people can exercise their legal capacity, including through recognition of supported decision making'. A key goal of this action, which is led by the Office for Disability Issues, is to develop a shared understanding of what the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities' Article 12: 'Equal recognition before the law' looks like in a New Zealand context.

Read more about the action and check progress with implementation
Read Article 12: Equal recognition before the law in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Key achievements

Bringing community stakeholders together

In April 2016, the Office for Disability Issues supported Auckland Disability Law (along with other partners) to run a two-day hui called The Conversation: Supported Decision Making: a right and in practice. Around 140 people from different parts of the community, medical and legal professionals, government agencies and others joined together to start a conversation on what supported decision making looks like in practice and how it might be used by a diverse range of people with different types of impairments, of all ages and ethnicities.

The Minister for Disability Issues (Oct 2014 - Oct 2017), Hon Nicky Wagner, also spoke to the hui.

Following the hui, Auckland Disability Law developed three resources:

  • Let’s Talk about Supported Decision Making leaflet 
  • Promoting Supported Decision Making and the Protection of Personal and Property Rights pamphlet
  • Supported Decision Making: A Roadmap to Success poster.

Also available are short videos with highlights from the hui and people talking about supported decision making, as well as presentations that were made.

Read more about the hui or access the resources

Increasing the knowledge base

In May 2016, the Office for Disability Issues commissioned the Donald Beasley Institute to carry out a literature review exploring current thinking, practice and research into support for disabled people’s exercise of their legal capacity, including supported decision making.

The purpose of this report is to provide information and direction based on recent research literature and evidence of actions taken by other states parties about the ways in which New Zealand may give effect Article 12, the right of disabled people to equal recognition before the law, of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. As a state party to the Convention, New Zealand has recognised that it has an obligation to give effect to the right in Article 12. The report was guided by questions provided by the Office for Disability Issues that have been utilised as an organising framework for this report.

The literature review can be downloaded below. You can access the full report or a summary.

Download (Word) - Exploring Article 12 literature review (full report) [DOCX, 663 KB]
Download (PDF) - Exploring Article 12 integrative literature review (full report) [PDF, 1 MB]
Download (Word) - Summary: Exploring Article 12 integrative literature review [DOCX, 334 KB]
Download (PDF) - Summary: Exploring Article 12 integrative literature review [PDF, 352 KB]

Other related information

New Zealand information

Mental Capacity: Updating New Zealand’s Law and Practice. A Report for the New Zealand Law Foundation by Alison Douglass (July 2016)
Read the report
Supporting Decision-Making: A Guide for Supporters of People with an Intellectual Disability (IHC Advocacy)
Download the guide

International information

Queensland, Australia: Office of the Public Advocate - Decision-making support and Queensland’s guardianship system
Read more about work in Queensland
Australia: Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws (ALRC Report 124) (Australia Law Reform Commission, November 2014)
Read more about the report
USA: National Resoruce Centre for supported decision making
Read more about supported decision making in the USA and around the world

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