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DPA's Information Exchange - 13 May 2020

In this week's Info Exchange:
Image reads: It's all right if... You're anxious about the path ahead - You're feeling pretty stoked - You're overwhelmed at the thought of changing your routine - You're excited to see your whānau and friends - You're sick of the phrase Covid-19
From the Mental Health Foundation:
"We know there's bound to be an enormous mix of reactions to yesterday's announcement. It's okay to be excited about the changes level two brings, and it's also okay to be anxious or overwhelmed."

The Mental Health Foundation post regular tips on their facebook page

Q and A - Alert Level 2

Tomorrow we move to Alert Level 2. 

General information about Alert Level 2 can be found on the website.

There is also some information in NZSL.

Information in Easy Read, large print and audio should be uploaded soon on the accessible information page.

Q. What should I do if I, or someone in my home, is more at risk of becoming very unwell if I/they catch Covid-19?

A. The Ministry of Health has put together some guidance for people who are more at risk:

Under all alert levels you should take extra precautions to protect yourself from Covid-19.

If you are more at risk, you should think about whether you need to be extra safe during this time. You understand your body, your health conditions and what works best for you. Make choices based on your situation and decide which extra things you need to do in addition to regular guidelines.

You should talk to the people that you live with and anyone that you come into regular contact with (such as support workers) about how you want to keep yourself safe.

Extra precautions that you might want to take include:

  • Discuss with your doctor what they think you should do in your situation.
  • Don’t extend your bubble especially for the two weeks after the move to Alert Level 2. This is because if Covid-19 continues to spread we might see an increase in cases again after 14 days.
  • Maintain 2-metres physical distancing with people outside your bubble or from most people where you can.
  • Continue to use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when you receive support for personal cares such as feeding, toileting, washing. See ‘PPE’ for further information. (See Ministry of Health guidance for community care providers - PDF)
  • You may want to negotiate with your employer/school about working or learning from home.
  • You may also need to make changes to how your support is provided. You will need to talk to your provider and/or support workers about this, and it may involve making changes to someone's employment. More information for people who employ their own support workers will be available soon on the Ministry of Health website
  • As we are going into winter and the flu season you may want to protect yourself from the flu. For more information, see How to get your flu vaccine

Q. Is Countdown still running their priority scheme for online shopping? What about the Civil Defence and Student Volunteer Army services to help access food?

Yes! Countdown's priority scheme will continue through Alert Level 2. Civil Defence and the Student Volunteer Army are also still providing help to access food. (More information about help accessing food.)

Q. Are Total Mobility trips still free?

Yes! NZTA has confirmed that Total Mobility will remain free when we move to Alert Level 2 (up to the regional up to the regional fare subsidy cap).

They have decided to extend the fare-free travel until 30 June 2020 -  no matter what Alert Level we are at.

For more information contact your Total Mobility supplier

Q. What happens if my workplace is reopening and I'm asked to go back to work but I am, or someone in my home is, more at risk of getting very ill if I/they get Covid-19?

First you can talk to your employer about whether you are able to work/continue working from home if you do do a job where that is possible.

If that is not possible, your employer may still able to apply for support to cover your wages while you stay home through the Leave Support Scheme.

Q. Schools are fully reopening next week - what if my child is more at risk of getting very ill if they get Covid-19?   

Staff from the Ministry of Education, resource teachers and school staff will continue to support children with their learning by phone and online if children are at a higher risk of getting severe symptoms from Covid-19, or they need to self-isolate.

You can talk to your school about:
  • how long your child might need to continue to learn from home,
  • whether you and your child have the support you need for effective ongoing distance learning
  • potential technology options to enable your child to participate in classes to support connection and engagement
  • whether it would be possible and beneficial for a teacher aide to work with your child in their home or remotely if necessary for the your child's health.
For more information visit the Ministry of Education website

Q. Are there any changes to benefit payments or Work and Income (WINZ) processes?

At Alert Level 2, WINZ will be able to have a small number of face-to-face appointments. However, they are encouraging people to use the phone or MyMSD - rather than dropping in, call  0800 559 009.

There are also some changes to processes, eg. some stand down periods have been removed until 23 November 2020. For more information see the Work and Income website.

Q. What changes are there to Disability Support Services for Alert Level 2? 
  • Day Services will open in a limited way. Your day service will contact you to let you know when and how they are going to open safely.
  • Facility Based Respite Centres will open in a limited way. You should contact your NASC for more information on what is available in your area.
  • There are no changes for Carer Support. You can continue to pay family members who you live with to provide you with a break. (Please note that this flexibility is for Carer Support paid through disability support services only, i.e. not through DHBs).
  • All equipment, housing and vehicle modifications can go ahead if services can be done safely.
  • Hearing and vision services (including NZ Sign Language interpreters), rehabilitation therapies and child development services can return to work if they can do so safely.
  • Flexibility of funding continues for people who employ their own support workers - but purchases must be within your budget and last your whole allocation.
  • Some NASC appointments will resume
Some more information is up on DPA's website and more detailed advice will be posted to the Ministry of Health website soon.
Reads: We are calling on Government to implement the five point plan for digital inclusion

Five Point Plan for Digital Inclusion

The Covid pandemic and lockdown has highlighted the need to ensure everyone has digital access so that they can access essential services and maintain social connection.

DPA is one of 20 organisations across New Zealand that have called on the Government to implement an action plan for digital inclusion and pledged their support to make it happen.

The plan aims to builds on the Government’s Digital Inclusion Package blueprint by setting out a concrete and achievable set of actions.

Read more about the Digital Inclusion Five Point Plan

This month DPA have also given advice to the Digital Council in response to their question, “Please tell us about how you, your organisation, or the communities you serve, are leveraging digital and data-driven technologies to support New Zealand through the lockdown, in a unique way (compared to pre-COVID-19 business as usual).  What are the barriers that prevent you from leveraging digital and data-driven technologies?” 

DPA has identified three priority areas that need addressing to ensure full digital inclusion for disabled people. These are affordability of digital access and devices, accessibility of online services, and support to assist disabled people to gain digital skills and keep themselves safe online.
Currently disabled people and people in social housing have much lower levels of access to the internet than most  other groups. DPA is calling for  urgent action to ensure that all disabled people have affordable or free  access to the internet and to devices and adaptive technology. Social housing providers and care agencies should provide free internet access and install Wifi in their properties.
Many essential public services, information and goods are increasingly only able to be accessed online , which makes it even more important that all online services , both government services and the private sector, are required to be accessible for use by disabled people.

Digital skills
Disabled people are also more at risk of digital harm (for example from a virus) than others. There is a need to extensively expand support for disabled people to gain the skills to operate online and to do so safely.


Telehealth Webinar: Equity and Improving Access

DPA Chief Executive Prudence Walker will join a panel discussing the use of telehealth tomorrow evening.

Covid-19 has triggered rapid changes in the delivery of health services and highlighted the need to address equity by improving access.

The use of telehealth solutions can assist providers in providing continuity of care in a safe, secure and sustainable way.

This webinar is the second in a series to support health providers and is co-hosted by the NZ Telehealth Leadership Group, Health Navigator and Health Literacy NZ.

Topics on improving access will include:
• What are the barriers?
• How can we ensure telehealth doesn’t exacerbate health inequities?
• How do we maintain tikanga Maori practices when using telehealth?
• What is the telehealth experience?

Panelists are:

Dr Nina Scott - Clinical Director Maori Public Health Waikato DHB and Chair of Hei Āhuru Mōwai national Maori Cancer Leadership Group

Lily Fraser - Secretary for Te Akoranga ā Maui and Council member for Family Planning

Amio Ikihele - PhD candidate, School of Population Health The University of Auckland

Dr Leanne Te Karu - Prescribing Pharmacist Pihanga Health Medical Centre, Associate Dean Maori Otago University School of Pharmacy

Prudence Walker - Chief Executive of Disabled Persons Assembly NZ

Dr Wiki Gillespie - GP, Swanson Medical Centre

Moderated by Susan Reid, Director Health Literacy NZ

The webinar will be held over Zoom, tomorrow Thursday, 14 May, 7pm - 8pm Registration is required - register here


Accessible Streets package submissions reminder

There's now just a week before deadlines close for submissions on the Government's Accessible Streets Package on 20 May 2020.  

You can find information about the package, including accessible formats here.  

The Disabled Persons Assembly is making a detailed submission on the package with a focus on keeping footpaths safe for all disabled people.  

We encourage members to either put in their own submission here or use the simple submission we have prepared below as a basis for your submission. You can add any further points if you wish and/or delete any you disagree with.  

To send in your submission, copy the statement below and email your submission to: 

Submission on the Accessible Streets Package  

I am strongly opposed to a number of proposals in the Accessible Streets package. Many of the proposals will make footpaths more dangerous and increase risk of harm for many disabled people, effectively making them more inaccessible for a significant group of users.  

In particular, I am opposed to the following proposals 

  1. Allowing adults’ bikes/e bikes/e-scooters on footpaths as they tend to travel at speeds significantly in excess of normal walking pace.  

  1. The proposed 15km/h speed limit on footpaths which is much too high. This needs to be set no higher than 6km/h to keep disabled pedestrians safe 

  1. The proposed 50km/h speed limit for shared paths which is too high for pedestrians to be able to avoid collision. The speed limit on shared paths should be no more than 20km/h and should be 10km/h or lower when passing pedestrians  

I support the following proposals 

  1. Allowing motorised wheelchairs/mobility scooters and ebikes/escooters to use cycle paths 

  1. Giving priority to footpath, cycle path and shared path users over turning traffic.  



The faces floating in bubbles of DPA CE Prudence Walker, Senior Kaituitui Chris Ford, Wellington Kaituitui Ollie Goulden, Waikato Kaituitui Joy Ho, Auckland Kaituitui Angela Desmarais and Christchurch Kaituitui Ingrid Robertson

DPA 'Bubble' hui 4 - May 23

Join DPA at our forth online 'Bubble' hui.

When: Saturday 23 May

What time: 2.00pm  – 4.00pm

Where: Zoom (all members will be emailed a link on the morning)

DPA Chief Executive Prudence Walker would like to invite you to our forth “Bubble” hui.

-NZSL interpreters will be present at this event
-This is a national event, members from around the country are invited to attend

Do you want to join in but are not a DPA member? Joining is easy and free – go to to sign up. Want to check your membership is current? Please email or message us on Facebook to check.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Ngā mihi,
DPA National Team

Screenshot of a Zoom call with host Marlon Drake and panellists Julie Anne Genter, Mataroria Lyndon, Esther Woodbury, Rhys Jones and Siouxsie Wiles

Panel discussion - Public Health and Covid-19


Disability advocate Dr Esther Woodbury took part in a Facebook live panel discussion on Public Health and Covid-19 on Monday as part of a virtual Aotearoa Town Hall series exploring what Aotearoa's pandemic recovery will look like.

The panel were invited to discuss the health implications and opportunities that may arise from the current health crisis.

The panelists were: 

- Dr Siouxsie Wiles, Microbiologist and Science Communicator specialising in infectious diseases and bioluminescence
- Dr Mataroria Lyndon, Public Health Physician, Senior Medical Education Lecturer, working with Iwi, Primary Health & DHB in their covid-19 response.
- Dr Rhys Jones, Public Health Physician, Lecturer in Medical & Health Studies, specialising in indigenous health and environmental influences in health.
- Dr Esther Woodbury, Disability Researcher and Advisor, works for the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care.
- Hon Julie Ann Genter, Minister for Women, Associate Minister for Health, Associate Minister for Transport

You can watch a recording of the discussion here:

Unfortunately there are no NZSL interpreters or subtitles for this video - as Esther pointed out as part of the discussion!


Deaf access to Healthline

A message to New Zealand’s Deaf Community from Healthline:

Covid-19 has presented all New Zealanders with unprecedented challenges and understandable concerns.

We know that those challenges and concerns are likely to be even greater for some people, including our Deaf Community.

We want to ensure that people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing continue to have access to all the COVID-19 health information and support that Healthline offers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’ve set out below the range of ways you can reach our services (available in NZSL).

Please let us know you are Deaf when you first make contact and advise us of the best way to respond.

  • Access to Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 helpline:
    • The NZ Relay Service and the Video Interpreting Service can be used to contact the Healthline COVID-19 telephone service – 0800 348 5453, or +64 9 358 5458 from overseas SIMs*
  • There are other ways to get advice for non-urgent concerns; please note that there may be a delay in responding.
    • Healthline COVID-19 advice can be accessed by e-mail on
    • Or fax on 09 377 6247 (e-mail and fax are monitored round the clock, but you may not get an immediate response)
    • You can use Facebook Messenger to reach Healthline through its Facebook page (monitored 7am – 11pm every day)
  • Feeling down? Anxious? Overwhelmed?
    • You can text to 1737 if you are experiencing distress or anxiety. It’s available 24/7 and a webchat option is also available.
  • As always, in an emergency situation, use 111.


* If these systems don’t work for you, and you are with a hearing person that you trust, Healthline staff will work with them as your advocate.

We’ve worked with members of the Deaf Community to develop additional training materials for frontline staff - including the many new people who’ve joined our team as part of the COVID-19 response - to ensure they are better equipped to take calls from the Deaf Community. We’re continuing to work with the Deaf Community to explore options for improving access to our range of services in the future.

We’d be happy to hear directly if you have suggestions about how to make it easier to access services:

We hope you find this information useful and can promote it within your networks.

He waka eke noa.

Ngā maanaki,

Andrew Slater, CEO, Homecare Medical
On behalf of The Healthline Team


Disability Directorate Policy Manager vacancy

The Ministry of Health Disability Directorate are currently looking for a Policy Manager to join their team. 

The Policy Manager will be responsible for managing the Policy team, working across the Ministry and disability sector to deliver key programmes of work within the Disability directorate and will:

  • Build collaborative relationships
  • Assist in strategic direction and planning
  • Leadership role
  • Interest in the disability sector
For more information about the role and to apply see:
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