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Ruth Dyson - Weekly Participate Newsletter

Message from the Minister

Welcome to the second issue of Participate. It's a Budget special. I'm delighted to be able to tell you that the Government has delivered on Labour's key pre-election commitments to people with disabilities – carer support and vocational services. There's good news in other areas too – housing, employment, special education, social welfare, health, and statistics. Read on for details.

The other major event this month has been the announcement of the Queen's Birthday Honours – the first time we have had a New Zealand–based honours system. It has been a real delight to see so many people whose work has gone unrecognised for years finally receive public acknowledgement. We list some of them in this newsletter.

Thanks to all the people who contacted us about the first issue of Participate. We have had heaps of positive feedback. And we've taken on board your suggestions for making the newsletter more accessible.

Those of you who receive Participate by e-mail will notice that you are getting a text-only version as well as a Word document. The text version gives you easy access to the information, while the Word document is formatted for printing off and passing around.

We have also made Participate available on the Blind Foundation's Telephone Information Service. From tomorrow (27 June), simply phone one of the numbers listed at the end of this newsletter, and you can hear a recording of all or part of this issue.

Keep up the good work, and we'll keep you up to date with developments in the disability area.

Ruth Dyson
Minister for Disability Issues
The Budget

The Coalition Government's first Budget last week included funding for a range of new services affecting people with disabilities:

Health and disability

Disability support services get an extra $10 million a year. Funding is for carer support, home support and residential care, and will particularly target Mäori and Pacific people with disabilities. The $10 million is made up of:

 $4.1 million to provide additional respite care for carers of people with a range of disabilities. It will be targeted at families experiencing significant stress in caring for people with high, complex needs, including highly challenging behaviour.
 $2.8 million to provide much-needed additional hours of home maintenance or personal care support. It will be targeted towards people who would otherwise need residential care.
 $3.1 million to enable additional people to receive residential care or other flexible living support options. It will be targeted at people with physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities or autism spectrum disorder, who cannot live at home.

Health Workforce Advisory Committee: $1.8 million over four years will fund a committee to provide advice on the workforce needs of the health and disability sectors, suitable training, and how to build workforce capacity in line with the health and disability support service needs of the population. The committee will have around 10 members and will represent health and disability professionals.
Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care):
An extra $23.298 million has been allocated over four years to ensure that appropriate services are in place for people with intellectual disabilities who have offended and others whose behaviour poses a serious risk of danger to themselves or others.

NB: Parliament’s Health Committee is currently considering The Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care) Bill. Many submissions have been critical of the inclusion in the legislation of children and adults with an intellectual disability who have not been charged with an offence but are considered dangerous.

The Government will be making decisions on the future of the bill soon, and I will be working to ensure that the extra money is retained, regardless of those decisions.

Mental health

$257.4 million over the next four years will go towards services and infrastructure to implement the Mental Health Commission's blueprint for mental health services. The increase is around 15 per cent.

Priority areas in the first year are workforce development; anti-discrimination; improving information and services for Mäori and Pacific peoples; child and youth services; alcohol and drug services; residential rehabilitation; and forensic services.

The Health Funding Authority will develop a programme of service purchase for 2000/01 for each region by the end of July 2000.

Vocational services

Vocational services for people with disabilities receives an additional $21.416 million over four years. The funding is targeted at school leavers with severe, multiple and complex disabilities; school leavers with disabilities who have high needs and require day and vocational services; and adults with disabilities.

Statistics

$1.8 million has been allocated over three years for two surveys on people with disabilities – a post-census survey of households and an institutional survey. The aim is to measure the prevalence of disability in New Zealand and the nature, duration and cause of disability. The surveys will also provide information on the barriers that people with disabilities encounter in their lives including their met and unmet needs for technical equipment and support.

The household survey will over-sample Mäori and Pacific people to gain reliable estimates of numbers of people with disabilities in these population groups.

Two filter questions on disability will be included in the 2001 Census, to help identify people with disabilities to participate in the household survey.

The surveys will be conducted in 2001, and the results released in April 2002.

Special education

The Budget provides funding for:

 350 more children in the early childhood sector to be included in the group which receives high needs funding;
 training for a further year for more learning and behaviour resource teachers;
 the Vision Education Agency and Deaf Education Agency to provide strategic planning advice for students with sensory impairments;
 a trial of a four-level system of payments to cover the residential costs of six residential special schools.

$48 million has also been allocated over the next four years to implement the recommendations of the Special Education 2000 policy review being conducted by Dr Cathy Wylie.

Housing

Community housing: $28.7 million goes to Community Housing Ltd to buy and modify 120 properties, taking its total housing stock to about 1200 residences by June 2001. Community Housing is a subsidiary of Housing Corporation NZ and provides rental accommodation for groups working with people who have specific housing requirements including those with intellectual, psychiatric and physical disabilities, women who need refuge and others needing emergency support or access to suitable housing.

Income related rents: $257.6 million over three years will see state house rents cut from 1 December 2000 to 25 per cent of tenants' incomes for the two-thirds of tenants who earn less than the rates of national superannuation. More than 40,000 households will get increased assistance averaging around $40 a week.

State houses: $357.7 million over three years will buy or build more state houses and maintain existing stock.

Energy efficiency: $3 million a year has been allocated for energy efficiency and conservation measures. Cheaper energy would be good news for many people with disabilities who often spend a lot of time in their homes.
Queen’s Birthday honours
The following people were honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2000 for services to people with disabilities. Congratulations to all of you (and apologies to anyone who has been inadvertently left out).

Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit

Judy Marie Cooper is honoured for services to the elderly, specialising in clients with dementia.

Anne Elizabeth Murphy is executive director of Focus 2000, and helped introduce the Conductive Education programme to New Zealand for children with motor disorders.

Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit

Cynthia Emmeline van Asch was instrumental, with her husband, in establishing Hohepa Homes in Christchurch to provide special care for people with disabilities based on the philosophies of Rudolf Steiner.

Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit

Ronald Morton Leggett made an invaluable voluntary contribution to the establishment of Total Mobility by training operators, allowing his vehicles to be used for demonstrations, and advocating for the scheme within the Taxi Federation and regional councils.

Companion of the Queen’s Service Order for Community Service

Doreen Teresa Chandler is honoured for supporting fellow polio survivors and other disabled groups. She founded the Auckland Post Polio Support Group in 1988 and has been president for 10 years.

Queen’s Service Medal for Community Service

Jean Bassett taught singing, piano and speech in the Wairarapa and Taumaranui communities for over 50 years. Her work had a therapeutic effect on many young people with disabilities.

Lois Audrey Kelly has been involved with the Foundation for the Blind since 1983 and set up the Visually Impaired Group in Morrinsville in 1986.

Jean Heather Robinson volunteers in many ways for a more caring community including fund raising for the Special Olympics and Operation KIDS.

Jean Nancy Ruddenklau has compiled over 500 scrapbooks for hospitals, nursing homes, children's institutions and the IHC.

Queen’s Service Medals for Public Services

Joan Hudson has been the unpaid coordinator of the Whakatane Citizens Advice Bureau for 12 years, and has served on the Disability Resource Centre committee. She is currently involved with Te Tangata, helping children with learning and behavioural difficulties.

Francis Murray Hustler has been a voluntary driver for the Orewa Hospice and a regular visitor to older people in their homes and hospitals. He also cuts lawns and tends the gardens of people with disabilities.
New Year’s honours

Nominations for the New Zealand Honour's New Year list close on 1 August 2000. Nominations may be made by anyone. It is not necessary to have the consent of the person nominated. If their nomination is successful, they will be asked whether they want to accept the proposed honour.

Nomination forms are available from Members of Parliament or the Honours Secretariat, Cabinet Office, Parliament Buildings, Wellington or by phoning (04) 471 9840. Electronic copies are available at www.dpmc.govt.nz/honours/nominations.
Government considers options for disability funding
The Government is aware of concerns in the disability sector about future funding of disability support services under the new District Health Board (DHB) structure. This concern has been fuelled by a Ministry of Health request to Health and Hospital Services (which will become DHBs) to submit a funding proposal which includes disability support services.

District Health Boards will be generally responsible for funding or providing the mix of services which ensures the best health and independence outcomes for their populations within available funding.

At the same time, Ministers are aware of concerns that DHBs may not be the best public agencies to fund disability support services:

 Some people with disabilities do not have strong links with health services.
 DHBs may not have a good understanding of disability issues and the non-governmental organisation (NGO) sector, particularly at first.
 Regional and national disability organisations will find it difficult to negotiate contracts with a large number of DHBs.

Cabinet is currently considering a number of different funding options for disability support services:

 District Health Boards;
 the Ministry of Health (or another central agency);
 alternative district-based organisations, new or existing;
 a mixture of District Health Boards and one of the other options.

No decision has yet been made. However, whichever option is chosen, changes will be made progressively and in consultation with the disability sector to ensure that disability support issues have a high profile and identity.
Participate just a phone call away
Participate is now available through the Royal NZ Foundation for the Blind's Telephone Information Service. Simply ring one of the numbers below to hear a recording of all or part of the latest newsletter (from 27 June 2000):

Auckland: (09) 302 3344
Hamilton: (07) 834 2288
Wellington: (04) 389 3858
Christchurch: (03) 355 8381
Dunedin: (03) 455 8833
Other areas (freephone): 0800 363 344

MAILING LISTS and RESPONSE

If you would like to respond to Participate, receive it or be taken off the mailing list, please e-mail: participate@moh.govt.nz or write to Costa Alexopoulos, Ministry of Health, PO Box 5013, Wellington, fax (04) 496 2010.
If you require this newsletter in hard copy, please send your name and postal address to Costa (at the contacts above).

Minister of Health Annette King publishes a similar newsletter called Health Moves which provides information about changes to the health and disability sector. If you would like to receive it, please e-mail: healthmoves@moh.govt.nz or write to Costa at the above address.

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