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Labour ignores Disability Strategy

Labour ignores Disability Strategy

National’s Disabilities spokeswoman, Sandra Goudie, says Labour is ignoring the rights of individuals and their families to be consulted over changes to legislation that will dramatically affect sheltered workshops.

A petition received at Parliament today calls for the repeal of the Disabled Persons Employment Promotion Act 1960 to be delayed until full consultation is carried out with those affected. Repealing the Act will require workshops to pay the minimum wage, or have people seek exemptions.

“Workshops throughout the country are saying this could make them uneconomic and they may have to sack workers, most of whom will have nowhere else to go and nothing meaningful to do.

“There has been no direct consultation with individuals or their families since this bill‘s first reading in May 2004

“Ruth Dyson has ignored her own Disability Strategy which says it must ensure that ‘the family, whanau and those who support disabled people are given an opportunity to have input into decisions affecting their disabled family member’. *

“Labour haven’t done their homework. They don’t know what is going to happen to these people,” Mrs Goudie says.

“Surely representatives of the disability sector would also support the right of people to be consulted on a bill that directly affects them as it goes through the House.

“The thousands of signatures on this petition underscore what I have been saying all along.

“If the Minister really believed in the Disability Strategy, both she and sector organisations would be supporting the call for more consultation. Even former Health and Disability Commissioner Robyn Stent says Labour must heed the call for consultation.”

(* Objective 15.4, Fourth Annual Report from the Minister for Disability Issues)

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