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New Zealand Disability Strategy Takes Another Step

New Zealand Disability Strategy Takes Another Step Forward

Work on the New Zealand Disability Strategy took a key step forward today when the Minister for Disability Issues, Ruth Dyson, called for expressions of interest from individuals wanting to be on a reference group developing the strategy.

"The Disability Strategy aims to identify how to remove the barriers faced by people with disabilities to enable their full participation in society," says Ms Dyson. "It will provide a framework for development of future disability policy and services in New Zealand.

"The strategy is a top priority for the Government and the reference group will play an important role in developing this document and establishing the consultation process."

Ms Dyson says the Disability Strategy will complement the New Zealand Health Strategy.

The group will comprise eight to 10 people with a wide range of experience of disability issues. It will work alongside the strategy's project team, providing advice on the consultation process and comment on draft proposals, as well as feed information and views of the sector to the project.

"The reference group will be seeking the help of people with disabilities to ensure all issues are considered," says Ms Dyson.

"Some of the issues to be addressed include the rights of people with disabilities, consistency in service provision and the need for better co-ordination of efforts by different government agencies. It will also look at the needs of people with disabilities across a range of government agencies.

"I am aware also that there has been little opportunity for Maori and Pacific people in particular to be involved in planning and delivery of services.

"Development of this strategy provides an opportunity to address these issues and move forward to create a more positive environment for people with disabilities," says Ms Dyson.

People with skills, experience and knowledge of disability issues and who want to play a key role in developing this important document should register their interest with the New Zealand Disability Strategy project team at the Ministry of Health by 3 May 2000, says Ms Dyson.

The reference group is due to be set up by late May.

A draft strategy is expected to be released for public comment in late August. A final strategy should be completed prior to Christmas and implementation will begin in the new year.

Goals of the New Zealand Disability Strategy

The goals of the strategy are to:

 ensure the rights of people with disability are acknowledged and represented
 promote partnership with Maori
 promote partnership with Pacific people
 promote habilitation and rehabilitation
 empower people with disabilities and their family/whanau
 ensure policy funding and services are cohesive and integrated across services
 promote certainty and consistency of service provision within available funding

Role of the Reference Group

The role of the reference group will be to:

 provide strategic advice to the project team on content and consultation
 comment on draft material written by the project team
 use their own networks to informally contribute to the advice
 present the views of the wider disability sector to the project
 participate in public consultations in order to develop an understanding of the sector's viewpoints to feed into development of the strategy.

The terms of reference will be finalised by the Reference Group once it is established.


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