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Masterton Council Forms Disability Advisory Group

Masterton District Council [MDC] has voted to establish a disability advisory group.

It would have up to 12 members: two council representatives, up to four iwi representatives, and six community representatives.

At a recent MDC meeting, Mayor Gary Caffell said he was particularly keen to be a part of the advisory group and that he thought the council had been “lax” in getting support from the disabled community on decisions in the past.

He said he had attended a meeting “of a number of the disability groups” where it was “very clear there that whilst they appreciate the support they are getting from us, they did feel they were being missed out on conversations around accessibility and issues around town.

“There was a strong push for a group like this to be formed.”

Before elected members voted to establish the group, councillor Tim Nelson said "society should be judged on how we look after our most vulnerable".

“And this is a really good example of us doing the right thing.”

Masterton District Council will form a disability advisory group. Photo: Emily Ireland

The disability advisory group would provide support to the council in “addressing the challenges faced by people with disabilities”, a recent report to council said.

“It will be tasked with providing community input about disability issues to be considered as part of council’s decision-making processes and providing advice to support initiatives aimed at enhancing accessibility and inclusivity within the Masterton district.

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“Establishing and operationalising a Masterton District Disability Advisory Group is one of the ways in which council and the wider community can work towards a more inclusive and accessible district.

“The work will contribute to the social development area outlined in He Hiringa Tangata, He Hiringa Whenua, Council’s Wellbeing Strategy, particularly in fostering a positive, strong, inclusive, and self-determining community with equitable opportunities for everyone.

“The Masterton District Disability Advisory Group will also contribute to the principle outlined in the Parks and Open Spaces Strategy, specifically by ensuring that individuals with disabilities have equal opportunities to connect with nature and enjoy parks and open spaces through various sporting and recreational activities.”

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