In October 2021, the government announced the establishment of a Ministry for Disabled People. The new entity is to combine functions and services of the ministries of Social Development and Health. The wary optimism with which the announcement was greeted at the time by disabled people has, this year, turned into disappointment and anger.

Disabled people have long advocated for a dedicated ministry. However, the Government’s appointment of a non-disabled person to lead the transition and the lack of disabled people in influential positions has been met with distrust and protest. A strong view expressed is that this is just one more disservice to disabled people who, for a long time, have not been equally represented in the positions of greatest influence over their own lives.

In response to the transition position announcement, Disabled Leadership Now (DLN) convened an online rally in February to state their lack of confidence in the Ministry establishment process. DLN is an organisation comprising disabled volunteers who are determined that disabled people will lead, and be present at every level of, their own Ministry.

The concern is that without genuine lived experience shaping the Ministry, only old thinking and old solutions will result, leaving disabled people no better off, with no greater voice.

This article by The Spinoff guest writer Robyn Hunt takes a look at the growing chasm of trust that potentially bodes ill for the new Ministry.

Many of NZCCSS member organisations provide services to disabled people. We support the stance that disabled people need to be at the decision-making table – at all levels – and will keep a watching brief over developments.