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Growing support for disability strategy

Growing support for disability strategy

A record number of government agencies have reported on progress in implementing the New Zealand Disability Strategy this year, Disability Issues Minister Ruth Dyson said today.

Launching the report, ‘Progress in Implementing the New Zealand Disability Strategy 2003-2004’, at DPA’s annual conference in Palmerston North, Ms Dyson said all government departments and three crown entities had reported on what they were doing to implement the disability strategy.

“This is the fourth annual report on implementing the disability strategy, and it covers 41 government agencies, up from 37 last year. It is very encouraging to find organisations such as the Accident Compensation Corporation, Sport and Recreation New Zealand and Housing New Zealand now making a commitment to address the issues facing disabled people.”

Ruth Dyson said highlights in the last year included:

New Zealand’s efforts, in partnership with disabled people, at the United Nations negotiating a convention on the rights of disabled people;

introduction of the New Zealand Sign Language Bill officially recognising the language of Deaf New Zealanders;

introduction of the DPEP Repeal bill to ensure disabled people have the same employment rights and entitlements as other New Zealanders;

analysis of the post-census disability surveys and the decision to fund a third and fourth survey in 2006 and 2011;

establishment of a major review of long-term disability supports;

changes to the Invalids Benefit to make it easier for disabled people to move into employment;

changes to funding of vocational services which will mean disabled people will no longer have their Disability Allowance taken up by vocational service fees;

an extra $23.15 million for four Special Education projects to improve support for high needs children and disabled students;

extra funding for the Office for Disability Issues to establish a reference group of disabled people, consult with the disability sector, and employ more staff.

Ruth Dyson said the latest progress report put government activities within a broader context for the first time.

“This report provides a snapshot of the overall issues and trends that are relevant to the strategy’s objectives. It uses this information and recent research to provide a baseline against which to measure progress and determine trends in the future.”

The report was tabled in Parliament on 28 October 2004.

Copies of ‘Progress in Implementing the New Zealand Disability Strategy 2003-2004’ are available in alternative formats from the Office for Disability Issues, MSD, PO Box 12 136, Wellington, phone (04) 916 3300, fax (04) 918 0075, email: odi@msd.govt.nz or on the website: http://www.odi.govt.nz

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