Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Speech to NZ Federation of Disability Information Centres

Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
Member of Parliament for Northland
18 MAY 2017


Speech by New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters

NZ Federation of Disability Information Centres,
Annual training conference,
Copthorne Hotel, Waitangi, Paihia
9.30am, Thursday, May 18, 2017.

Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today.

The Federation of Disability Information Centres play a critical role in ensuring the disabled throughout New Zealand can lead full and active lives in their communities and assisting with the formulation of policy for the disabled.

Here in Northland, NorthAble has been serving local communities since 1990 with centres in Dargaville, Kaeo, Maungaturoto, Kaitaia and Pukenui; an office in Whangarei as well as a mobile service.

We are proud that locals such as Phoebe Foley have made a noteworthy contribution to your work, not just locally, but also nationally.


Disability covers a vastly broad spectrum – physical and mental - and all ages.

Fortunately we live in a time when the disabled have been given greater respect; they are acknowledged and heard more often than in the past.

At the last general election telephone voting operated for the first time and people with disabilities, including those with intellectual and/or psycho-social disabilities, were enabled to vote.

The use of sign language is regularly seen on our television screens.

The wider community has woken up to the fact as Stevie Wonder once said:

Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn’t mean he lacks vision

Social media has brought about change and while there are negatives, it has become another tool for the disabled to become engaged.


Sport has also helped play a major role in breaking down barriers and opening up new opportunities.

New Zealand has a long history of parathletes excelling.

Eve Rimmer was the first woman selected to represent New Zealand at the Paralympics and she went on to win many gold medals.

Archer Neroli Fairhall became the first parathlete to compete in the Olympic Games.

In more recent times, Sophie Pascoe has won nine gold medals and six silver medals, at the Paralympics. She has become a household name in New Zealand.

And last year a new star emerged at the Rio Paralympics, blade runner Liam Malone.

Someone said after watching last year’s paralympics:

“What I learned was that these athletes were not disabled, they were superabled. The Olympics are where heroes are made. The Paralympics are where heroes come.”

Sophie Pascoe, Liam Malone, and others have been inspirational figures for all New Zealanders.

They have also been great role models for the disabled community.


And it is a large community.

In 2013, 24 percent of the New Zealand population were identified as disabled, a total of 1.1 million people.

Most of which, 59 percent, were people aged 65 or over followed by those under 65 being 21 percent. Children under 15 years make up 11 percent.

Just over half of all disabled people (53 percent) have more than one type of impairment.


In spite of the wonderful images of Sophie Pascoe powering to another gold medal, the everyday life for many disabled is a struggle.

The housing crisis has hit the disabled community hard.

Young disabled wanting to leave home and start their own lives in suitable accommodation find it extremely difficult to find accessible accommodation.

Only 45 percent of disabled adults have jobs compared to 72 percent non-disabled adults.

Just over two and a half years ago the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities acknowledged there are positives in New Zealand but there are negatives also:

The committee expressed concern that programmes were needed to protect people with disabilities from violence and harm in institutions.

They criticised the continuing practice of using seclusion and restraints in psychiatric hospitals.

- They were concerned the prevalence of disability was higher among Maori as a result of poverty and disadvantages.


They said more was needed to increase the entry levels into tertiary education for people with disabilities.


- The committee said 1200 people with disabilities were paid less than the minimum wage.


The disability sector is constantly confronting change.

This is most apparent with the co-design process your sector is now going through with the new model of Enabling Good Lives.

The new system proposed is that individuals will control funding their own services.

Co-design workshops have been held in Wellington with the aim of designing a system to meet the needs of the diverse disabled community.

New Zealand First is watching this process with interest.


We are concerned that the current Budgets are not keeping up with population growth and an ageing disability population.

In last year’s Budget the government committed an extra $2.2 billion to health over the next four years.

It sounds impressive but the disturbing thing is health spending per capita or per person in New Zealand has gone down, not up.

According to the “Yes We Care” campaign – an alliance of health professionals and community groups- the country’s health system is underfunded by $1.8 billion.


In fact, the entire health sector is under so much stress, New Zealand First believes an independent analysis and action for all of the health system and its funding is now an urgent priority.

We believe funding must be boosted for DHBs – with so many of them in deficit.

We want increased funding for mental health services in rural areas as well as for Pharmac to treat life-limiting and rare conditions.

We are committed to fully supporting the disability community.

Among our policies, we would strengthen the role of the Minister for Disability Issues.

We would ensure resources are available to all students with disabilities on an equitable basis.


New Zealand First believes that as much as is possible the disabled can be assisted to live and enjoy normal lives.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Budget

It may seem like Oliver to be so bold as to ask the Finance Minister for more gruel – but what the Dickens, Steven Joyce… is this Budget really as good as it gets?

Supposedly, the public was going to receive significant rewards – an election year lolly scramble no less – for the eight years of belt tightening that they’ve endured, and for the rundown of essential public services.

Well, what Budget 2017 delivered instead in Education and in Health were allocations barely sufficient to maintain the current levels of service delivery More>>

Scoop Full Coverage: of Budget Announcements & Reaction
Latest: Scoop Search


Auditor-General Stands Down For Investigation: Gordon Campbell On (Not) Taking Responsibility

So Martin Matthews, our current Auditor-General wishes he could have detected “earlier” the fraud that occurred on his watch at the Ministry of Transport. Hmmm. But he could have detected it earlier, surely? That’s the point. More>>


NGOs Pleased: Govt To Halt Collection Of Client Data

Brenda Pilott, the chair of ComVoices and national manager of Social Service Providers Aotearoa, congratulates the government on its decision to call a halt to the collection of individual client data until the concerns of not-for-profit service providers have been worked through. More>>


Gosh: Blasphemy Law Repeal Struck Down

Chris Hipkins, the MP who tabled a Supplementary Order Paper to add our Blasphemy Law to the Statutes Repeal Bill, said this was a "sad day for freedom of speech, tolerance, and leadership". More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Navy’s Dealings With Fat Leonard, And Twin Peaks

At an official level, our “she’ll be right” attitude routinely spills over into a keen resentment of anyone who suggests the outcomes may be less than satisfactory… The Navy has now gone one step beyond. It won’t even ask itself whether it did a good job. More>>


NZDF: Fifth Rotation Of Troops Heads To Iraq

The fifth rotation of New Zealand Defence Force troops left today for a six-month mission training Iraqi soldiers. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Demonising Of Iran

Will New Zealand still be willing to pursue its recent trade overtures to Iran, now that US President Donald Trump has used his speech in Riyadh to single out Iran as the main source of terrorism and instability in the Middle East? More>>



Opening The Election Supporters




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election