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Funding to support disabled New Zealanders

Hon Tariana Turia
Minister for Disability Issues

16 May 2013

Funding to support disabled New Zealanders

The Government has committed to a number of initiatives in Budget 2013 to improve the lives of those who live with disabilities, Disability Issues Minister Tariana Turia says.

This includes $6 million in operating funding over the next two years to continue the Think Differently campaign.

“Think Differently seeks to increase the participation of disabled people in all aspects of community life, and to change social attitudes and behaviours that limit opportunities for disabled people,” Mrs Turia says.

“The campaign will support national and community-led activity that challenges negative views about disabled people, that changes professional practice, and develops inclusive environments - as well as building the capacity of both disabled and non-disabled people to lead change.

“Research identifies negative attitudes as the biggest barrier to disabled people being able to access the same opportunities as other New Zealanders. Removing the barriers to participation makes good economic sense because it allows disabled people to live up to their potential,” Mrs Turia says.
Enabling Good Lives

More than $2.5 million in operating funding is being invested over the next three years to implement the Enabling Good Lives approach to the redesign of disability support in Christchurch and Waikato.

“The Enabling Good Lives approach is about changing disability support and services so that disabled people spend less time going to providers’ facilities and more time in their own communities. It will enable disabled people to do a wider range of activities, including ordinary things in ordinary places,” Mrs Turia says.

Promoting lifetime design in housing

“The Government has committed a further $1.5 million in operating funding over three years to increase the number of houses built to universal design standards. This is about designing and building houses that accommodate, without requiring modification, the needs of people of all ages and life stages, and that reduce accidents in the home,” Mrs Turia says.

“Lifetime design is about making our living environments more usable and safer for all. For example, a lifetime designed house has wider doorways, level entry into the house, slip resistant pathways, lever handles on taps and doors, and electrical switches and appliances positioned for easy access.

“The rebuild in Canterbury provides an opportunity to encourage and assist developers and home owners to utilise lifetime design standards as housing is rebuilt.

“Already, six Christchurch design companies and 10 building companies have become licensed to design and build Lifemark-accredited homes. In the past month, the Christchurch City Council has signed a memorandum of understanding with Lifetime Design Limited to rebuild council social housing units to the Lifemark standard level three or above.”

Supporting disabled people to monitor their rights

“Ongoing operating funding of $275,000 a year is provided in Budget 2013 for disabled people to monitor their rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, undertaken by the Convention Coalition of seven disabled people’s organisations,” Mrs Turia says.

The funding follows an initial three years of support provided in Budget 2010.

Monitoring by the Convention Coalition involves interviewing disabled people about their life experiences and providing an independent report to the Government, using methodology supervised by the Canadian-based Disability Rights Promotion International Project.

The Convention Coalition is one of the three partners recognised by the Government for the independent monitoring of the United Nations Convention on the Rights on Persons with Disabilities. The others are the Human Rights Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman.

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