Every Kiwi Counts Disability Issues Newsletter December 2015

Disability Issues
Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hi Everyone

As Christmas rapidly approaches I want to thank you for the warm welcome I have received from the disability community this year and for the contribution each of you has made to creating a more accessible and more inclusive New Zealand.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I am going to enjoy spending time with family and friends, and I hope you can do the same.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

3 December 2015 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This year’s theme is Inclusion Matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities. The United Nations estimates that there are one billion people worldwide living with disabilities and many of these people face barriers to inclusion in many key aspects of society. Challenges include transportation, employment and education.

The United Nations is using the International day to highlight measures to strengthen national capacities to improve disability data collection.

I’m delighted that New Zealand is already leading in this area. In June this year I announced the creation of the Disability Data and Evidence Working Group. The Working Group, jointly facilitated by the Office for Disability Issues and Statistics New Zealand, comprises of representatives from: government agencies, Disabled People’s Organisations, NGOs, and universities and research institutes carrying out research on disability.

I will be unveiling a mural in Christchurch, attending an afternoon tea with The Cube and the Human Rights Commission which includes a performance by the PHAB Phusion Inclusive Dance Group, and attending the Attitude Awards. Visit my website http://www.nickywagner.co.nz  on 4 December to find out more about the Attitude Award Winners and to see a very special video!

‘Inclusion Matters’

To celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities this year the Human Rights Commission launched a nationwide campaign to celebrate the lives of disabled New Zealanders.

As part of this campaign, thousands of bright orange wristbands bearing the words ‘Inclusion Matters’ have been sent to leaders and organisations throughout New Zealand. The wristbands signal to others that we are celebrating the inclusion of disabled people in all areas of life.

I have distributed 200 wristbands to Ministers, MPs and their staff and encouraged them to wear the wristband on 3 December 2015 and in the days leading up to it. I’m sure that the wristband will be a topic of conversation. It is important to focus on the ability and not on the disability of an individual.

Hon Nicky Wagner, Minister for Disability Issues and Paul Gibson, Disability Rights Commissioner wearing their wristbands

Key Local Content to be Captioned on Prime from 2016

I was absolutely delighted to read Sky TV’s announcement in November that they have invested in equipment to enable the broadcast of captions on pre-recorded content screening on its free-to-air channel Prime. This means that NZ On Air-funded funded shows, including Decades In Colour, The Crayfishers, Forensics and Shearing Gang, will be captioned along with other prime time shows. Captioning has increased significantly over the last decade, but there is always more we can do. Better captioning will make a huge difference to deaf and hard of hearing New Zealanders who will now be able to watch, enjoy and understand more free to air prime time content than ever before. It is great to see content providers taking the lead and extending captioning services.  

Minister for Social Development Announces Extra Targeted Support into Employment

I hope that many of you have seen Hon Anne Tolley’s recent announcement that an additional 40,000 places for work focused case management are being made available for beneficiaries this year, following a funding boost of $8.5 million in Budget 2015. The number of clients who will be able to receive intensive support from Work and Income will increase from 80,000 to 120,000, with the additional places focused on sole parents and jobseekers with health conditions and disabilities, who want to work but need extra advice and guidance. People with health conditions and disabilities who want to work deserve the opportunity and the extra support.

For further information about Minister Tolley’s announcement visit: http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/extra-targeted-support-employment

Merry Christmas Everyone!