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DPA's Information Exchange - 5 December 2020

In this week's Info Exchange:
A video still shows Prudence to the left with a sign language interpreter to her right and captions below. The top line reads "I te wā o te rāhui". The line below reads "Getting food in lockdown, well"
In the first episode of a 'Disability and Covid-19' video series, DPA CE Prudence Walker and National President of Blind Citizens NZ Jonathan Godfrey share their stories about the challenges of getting kai during Alert Levels 3 and 4.

Disabled Peoples' Experiences of Covid-19 video launch  

This year the International Day of Disabled Persons theme centred on "Building Back Better" from the Covid-19 pandemic that has had a significant impact on our community. 

To mark the day, the DPO Coalition launched a "Disability and Covid-19" video series to highlight the strength of our disabled community, and the ongoing fight for our rights to be upheld.


The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all New Zealanders, but it hasn’t impacted everyone equally. 

Our disabled and Māori communities have borne the brunt of this pandemic, experiencing major challenges to accessing essential services, and significant struggles during the nationwide lockdowns. However, disabled people have also pulled together to ensure our communities are kept safe, and our people have what they need to get by. 

The accessible six part video series showcases the stories of disabled community members across Aotearoa, exploring their experiences of the pandemic during Alert Levels 3 and 4.

From making sure they could get kai for their whānau to getting essential help to those who need it most - we hear from disabled kiwis in their own words so that we can ensure a more accessible future for our whole team of 5 million.

This series is brought to you by the DPO Coalition, with funding from the Office for Disability Issues, and proudly produced by Activate Agency.

The DPO Coalition acknowledges the contribution of all disability sector organisations to make sure that the wellbeing of, informational needs, and support for disabled people was monitored and improved upon throughout the impact of COVID-19.

Watch the first episode

Transcript - English (PDF)
Transcript - English (Word document)

Transcript - te reo Māori (PDF)
Transcript - te reo Māori (Word document)

Accessible Transcript (English for ScreenReaders)

Plain English Episode summary (Word document)
Plain English Episode summary (PDF)


DPA submission - Census 2023

Last week DPA made a submission to Stats NZ on their Preliminary view of 2023 Census content. 

In New Zealand the Census and the post-census Disability Survey are a key source of data on disabled people for policy making and funding. For this reason, it is critically important that the census asks the right questions to avoid groups of disabled people being underrepresented in these data sets.

DPA understands why Statistics NZ has chosen to use the Washington Short Set (WSS) questions on disability, however we are concerned that relying solely on these to identify disabled people will result in significant shortcomings of data.

The WSS under-samples a number of different groups of disabled people, including people with learning disability, neurodiverse people, people with disabling mental health conditions and people with long-term health conditions such as cancer, MS, diabetes and inflammatory bowel diseases.

We feel that it is vitally important that people with long-term conditions or impairments, who may not be captured by the WSS questions, can state this in the Census. 

DPA recommends the inclusion of an additional identity question (properly separated from the WSS) to complement the WSS questions.

DPA has urged Statistics NZ to look at including an expanded version of the identity question used in the Counting Ourselves Survey, which asks "Do you identify as a disabled person, a Deaf person, and/or as neurodiverse (for example, being on the autism spectrum)?" and gives a range of multichoice answers from "Strongly" to "Not at all".

Read DPA's full Submission - Census 2023 (Word Doc)


DPA plastics consultation feedback

The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) has been going through a consultation process on a Government proposal to phase-out more single-use and hard-to-recycle plastic items. 

DPA acknowledges that waste generally, and single use plastics specifically, are a major and growing concern. Like the wider population, many disabled people are keen to play their part in reducing the impact of waste and plastics on the environment.

However, DPA has highlighted that there are a number of significant accessibility barriers for disabled people wishing to avoid single-use plastics and recycle and reduce their waste responsibly including: a lack of information about recycling in accessible formats; physical and sensory barriers to sorting recycling; a lack of affordable and accessible alternatives; and that many products subsidised for disabled people such as continence pads are not re-useable.

DPA has significant concerns about the MfE proposal to phase out plastic single-use straws as this will have a disproportionately negative impact on disabled people who rely on straws to drink.

DPA is opposed to any phase out of plastic single-use straws.

If MfE does decide to proceed with a ban on single use plastic straws then DPA recommends, as an absolute minimum, an exemption scheme for disabled people must be in place first. The exemption scheme must be designed in partnership with disabled people.

Read our full submission on the MfE Plastics Consultation (Word Doc)


Abuse in Care Royal Commission - share your story

Are you a survivor of abuse in state or faith-based care? 

The Abuse in Care Royal Commission wants to give a voice to disabled people who have experienced abuse and neglect in care. It wants to learn why and how disabled people came to be in care, what happened to them while they were in care, and the effects on them and their family’s lives. 

The Royal Commission begun in 2019 hearing from survivors of abuse and neglect in state and faith-based care.

Survivors can share their story of abuse with the Royal Commission in a private session with a Commissioner. Private sessions happen in person or can be completed over Zoom.

Survivors also have the option of writing their story in a booklet. This is called a written account. If you would like literacy support when writing down your experience, the Royal Commission can arrange that support for you.

The Royal Commission has also held public hearings and will continue to do them throughout the lifetime of the Inquiry. Some survivors and witnesses of abuse may be asked to share their story in a public hearing. It is completely up to them if they do this.

Throughout all the different ways someone can share their story of abuse and neglect, the Royal Commission will have a conversation with survivors about wellbeing support and ensuring that any other support needed such as meeting assistants, NZSL interpreters and venue accessibility is available.  

The Royal Commission has a Community Engagement team that are focusing on ensuring different communities within New Zealand are aware of the Inquiry and able to participate. Team members Loren Savage and Sue Hobbs are working with the disability community.

They work to create internal processes for the Royal Commission, as well as promoting the work of the Inquiry throughout the disability sector ensure disabled people and their whānau are able to engage with the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care in a way that is appropriate and accessible to them.

If you would like to find more about the Royal Commission you can contact Loren on or you can look at the Royal Commission’s website  or call 0800 222 727


Survey to measure consumer engagement at governance level - feedback sought

A research study has been set up to develop a survey measuring consumer engagement and experiences of being involved in consumer groups at governance level for example, project teams, steering groups and boards. 

The project is run by researchers from Counties Manukau Health and Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand.

The aim is to co-design a survey that can be used internationally to measure and monitor consumers’ experiences of working in partnership with health services and initiatives. Consumers will have the ability to rate their experiences on a scoring system.

The project is now at the stage where they would like to undertake widespread testing of the survey with consumers across New Zealand and Australia.

If you have been involved in a consumer group at governance level, you are invited to complete the survey and provide any comments and/or suggestions for improvement in the ‘free text’ box at the end of the survey. The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

For more information and to take part to go to: 


NZDSA admin / finance vacancy

The New Zealand Down Syndrome Association (NZDSA) are looking for someone to take over their National Administrator and Finance Officer role.   

This is a part-time fifteen hour a week position. This role will be critical in helping the NZDSA to achieve its vision and mission.
The closing date is the 31st of December 2020 with interviewing planned for the middle of January 2021.

For more information visit the NZDSA website.

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