Concern govt's new disabled people's ministry will actually take funding away

Lloyd Burr 29/10/2021

LISTEN: The government has announced it will be establishing a disabled people's ministry.

Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni says the current disability system is "broken" and puts "too many barriers in place for disabled people".

The new Ministry for Disabled People will join up all the supports and services available to disabled people, replacing a system where there is no single agency responsible for improving the overall outcomes for people with disabilities.

Sepuloni says the government has "listened to the disabled community" and their voices will be "embedded at all levels of decision-making", including the formation and running of the ministry.

It will sit under the current Ministry of Social Development.

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero welcomes the changes.

"Many people over a long time have been calling for a Ministry for Disabled People who can really focus on making sure that disability support services, which currently sit in the Ministry of Health, are actually delivered in a way that takes into account the far greater holistic needs of disabled people," she told Lloyd Burr Live.

Autism NZ chief executive Dane Dougan says the current system doesn't cater to people with autism.

"Although we don't have stats in this country based on international figures there's probably about 90000 autistic people in New Zealand, and we know that only approximately 8000 of them are getting disability support services," he told Magic Talk.

But even with these changes, Dougan believes a "massive" number of New Zealand's autistic community will still miss out on disability support.

He remains optimistic but has concerns the new ministry will take funding away from disabled people to cover the overhead costs of keeping the ministry running.

Listen to the full interview with Paula Tesoriero and Dane Dougan above.

Magic Talk | Lloyd Burr Live, weekdays from 4pm.

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