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DPA's Information Exchange - 19 June 2020

In this week's Info Exchange:

DPA response to the Health and Disability System Review Report

DPA have written a press release in response to the Health and Disability System Review Report:

Health And Disability System Review Report Fails Disabled People

Recommendations in the Health and Disability Review Final Report released this week will fail to improve outcomes for disabled people, the Disabled Persons Assembly NZ (DPA) says.

“The Health and Disability Review Final Report shows that this review was – as we feared – a health review with disability tacked on,” DPA National President Gerri Pomeroy says.

“For a long time disabled people have been saying that Disability Support should never have been lumped together with “health” and this review simply leaves us feeling this more than ever.”

DPA is calling for a separate authority to deliver disability services. An authority that will be staffed with people who have the expertise and commitment to be able to make the changes needed to enable disabled people to live good lives.

The review’s suggestion that disability support might be devolved to DHBs is of huge concern. Disability is not a health issue and this suggestion is contrary to calls from disabled people and their whanau over the last decade.

This review has obviously put a huge amount of thought into the major changes needed for our health system. However, the urgent need to transform disability support is conspicuous in its absence.

“This was a chance to completely overhaul the disability support system, in the same way that the report is suggesting overhauling the health system. Instead the urgent need to transform disability support is conspicuous in its absence,” Pomeroy says.

“Disabled people have put a significant amount of time, effort and expertise into designing a transformed disability support system. Trials of a transformed system, ‘Enabling Good Lives’, have been running for years now in Waikato, Christchurch and the MidCentral area.

“When this review was not even going to consider trials of a transformed disability support system, how could it ever begin to properly look at the changes needed to disability support?” Pomeroy says.

“Furthermore, as neither the Expert Panel nor the Maori Expert Advisory Panel included a single disabled person or disability expert, it is unsurprising how lacking in focus on disability the review is, and that the need for disabled leadership is unconsidered.

The report acknowledges, “leadership capability is inextricably linked to the design, functioning, purpose and culture of a system and the organisations within it,” yet the design proposed by this report creates no space for disabled leadership – for example, there is no suggestion of a requirement for disabled representation on either the Health NZ Board, or DHB Boards.

There is no acknowledgement of the need for disabled people in any form of governance within the system – including within disability support services. Since 2008, considerable work has been done by disabled people, their whanau and others to design and trial an enabling and effective disability system. This extensive body of work is not evident in the recommendations, specific to disability, contained in this report.

“This report acknowledges that the current system does not deliver for disabled people, yet has clearly not heard what disabled people have been saying for many, many years,” Pomeroy says. “Never has the need for a separate disability authority with clear disabled leadership been more apparent.”


Invitation to IMM report online launch

The Independent Monitoring Mechanism (IMM) warmly invites you to the live streaming of the launch of our third status report on disability rights in New Zealand, Making Disability Rights Real.

The IMM is made up of the Disabled People’s Organisations’ (DPO) Coalition, the Human Rights Commission and the Ombudsman.

You will learn more about the report’s findings in brief addresses from Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier, Paula Tesoriero MNZM Disability Rights Commissioner (Human Rights Commission) and Leo McIntyre, DPO Coalition Chair.

We are delighted to have the Hon. Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Disability Issues, attending as a guest speaker and to receive the report on behalf of the Government.

Please note that the report will be available in a range of accessible formats which will be available at

Everyone is welcome to attend this online event, and we encourage you to share this invitation with your networks.

For further information, assistance or to submit a question to the presenters, please email:

Launch details

When: Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Time: 4.30pm to 5.30 pm Link:

NZSL: The live stream will include NZSL interpreters.

About the Independent Monitoring Mechanism

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is the overarching human rights document for disabled people. It reaffirms that all disabled people with all types of impairments must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The New Zealand Government showed its commitment by ratifying the UNCRPD in 2008.

To help monitor the implementation of the UNCRPD in New Zealand, a mechanism or group of agencies, the 'Independent Monitoring Mechanism' (IMM), was set up to monitor and report on the Government’s performance. This group is made up of the Human Rights Commission; the Ombudsman and the DPO Coalition.

DPO Coalition members are: DPA, Blind Citizens NZ, People First NZ, Deaf Aotearoa, Kāpo Māori O Aotearoa, Balance Aotearoa and the Muscular Dystrophy Association of New Zealand.

In a living room with a backdrop of framed family photos, Huhana sits with her hands folded in her lap smiling at Áine.
Video still from Áine Kelly-Costello's conversation with Huhana Hickey - part of the Generations of Change series

Generations of Change - conversations with disabled leaders

If you're keen or curious to kōrero with some fabulous disabled change-makers and learn more about their journeys, you'll want to check out a new series called Generations of Change.

Facilitated by DPA member and journalist Áine Kelly-Costello partnering with Imagine Better,  you can Zoom in every Tuesday at 7pm between June 16 and July 28 to join in. We'll watch and listen to a pre-recorded conversation first and then it'll be your turn, with a live Q&A. The first conversation was with Dr Huhana Hickey - you can watch it now

Next Tuesday the conversation is with DPA NEC member Joanne Dacombe. The following weeks will be with Pati Umaga, Duane Kale, Rachel Noble, Robyn Hunt and Tewai Skipwith-Halatau.

The conversations with Áine will also be broadcast on Wellington Access Radio on Wednesdays at 4pm, and released as captioned videos. Sign up here and you'll get updates about the whole series:


Attitude Award nominations open

Nominations are now open for the 2020 Attitude Awards.

The Attitude Awards are the only national televised event celebrating the achievements of disabled New Zealanders. They recognise athletes, employers, employees, young people and others who are game changers in their communities.

This year the black tie gala ceremony will be held at Auckland’s Cordis Hotel on Wednesday, 2 December. 

Anyone can nominate someone from your community who you believe deserves recognition. 

The list of categories are:

●  Attitude ACC Employer Award

●  Attitude Community Champion Award

●  Attitude Employee and Entrepreneur Award

●  Attitude Impact Award

●  Attitude Special Olympics Award

●  Attitude Sporting Endeavour Award 

●  Attitude Support Superstar Award

●  Attitude Youth Courage Award

●  Spirit of Attitude Award

Nominations are open until Sunday, 26 July.

Further information and nomination forms can be found at:


New Commissioner appointed to Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care has welcomed a new Commissioner, lawyer Julia Steenson.

Ms Steenson joins Chair Judge Coral Shaw, and Commissioners Sandra Alifovae, Andrew Erueti and Paul Gibson in overseeing the Royal Commission.

In announcing the appointment, Minister Tracey Martin indicated there will also be a sixth Commissioner appointed, with the role to be filled after the General Election.

The government has been searching for some time for a suitable candidate to take the role left by Coral Shaw, when she became Chair late last year, taking over from retiring Chair Sir Anand Satyanand.

Julia Steenson (Ngāti Whātua, Waikato/Tainui), is a qualified lawyer who has worked in the finance and education sectors, as well as in legal practice. She currently works in governance and is the founder of, an online marketplace for legal services which aims to provide a better way for everyday people to have easy access to and knowledge of legal services. She also hosts the NZFreelaw podcast to provide free legal information to large audiences.

An elected representative on the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust (NWO) Board, Ms Steenson sits on the commercial board of NWO Whai Rawa Limited.  She is a member of the Risk Assurance and Audit committee for the NWO group and is Chair for Kia Puawai Limited; a health and wellbeing charity.

Previously, she worked as General Counsel for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa where she presented on Intellectual Property at the World Indigenous People Conference in Toronto.

Private sessions resume - New dates for Redress Hearing

With the country now in Level one the Inquiry has moved back to delivering some of the services that were on hold due to Covid-19 restrictions. This month private sessions have resumed in the Auckland and Wellington regions, they will then move on to the other regions.

The Redress Hearing set down for late March - early April was deferred due to Covid-19.New dates have been set for the hearings with the state hearing being split into two phases.

In the first phase the Inquiry will hear evidence from survivors of abuse in care about civil claims made against the State. It will also hear from survivors about civil litigation in the courts and before the Human Rights Tribunal. In the second phase of the State Redress Hearing, witnesses for the Crown will give evidence.

· State Redress: Evidence from survivors of abuse - Monday 21 September to Tuesday 6 October

· State Redress: Witnesses for the Crown - Monday 19 October to Tuesday 3 November

A separate faith-based hearing is scheduled from 23 November to 11 December. There will be a focus on the redress processes of the Catholic Church, Anglican Church and the Salvation Army.

For more information go to

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