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Reference Group To Advise Govt On Disability

Reference Group To Advise Govt On Disability Strategy - Margaret Wilson

The appointment of a reference group to the New Zealand Disability Strategy will ensure people with disabilities and other stakeholders are actively involved in developing the strategy, Minister for Disability Issues Ruth Dyson said today.

Ms Dyson is delighted with the high level of interest in the strategy, which will be a blueprint for future disability policy and services.

"About 138 nominations came in for the reference group. The calibre of the applicants was very high, and choosing the group hasn't been easy. However, we have tried to ensure a good balance of backgrounds, skills and experience."

The 14 members of the reference group are: Robyn Hunt, Wellington; Jan Scown, Hamilton; Jennifer Brain, Auckland; Paul Gibson, Wellington; Les Gilsenan, Wanganui; Mike Gourley, Wellington; Mark Lau Young, Wellington; Judith Lunny, Auckland; Dr Nigel Millar, Christchurch; Missy Morton, Christchurch; Mary O'Hagan, Auckland; Graham Stairmand, Christchurch; Lorna Sullivan, Tauranga; Patrick Thompson, Auckland; Maaka Tibble, Auckland.

The group will be co-chaired by Robyn Hunt and Jan Scown.

The New Zealand Disability Strategy is a top priority for the Government and the reference group will play an important role working alongside the project team, Ms Dyson says. It will provide advice on the consultation process, comment on draft proposals and feed information and sector views to the project team.

"The group will be seeking the help of people with disabilities and the wider disability community to ensure all issues are on the table. I hope the people who missed out on selection will continue to contribute through this process."

The reference group held its first meeting in Wellington yesterday (23 May). A draft strategy is expected to be released for public comment in late August. A final strategy should be completed by Christmas and implementation will begin in the new year.

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