Every Kiwi Counts: Disability Issues Newsletter: March 2017

Monday, March 13, 2017

Hi everyone

I hope you have all had a great 2017 so far, and a relaxing break with friends and family over the summer.

So far it’s been a busy start to the year. Last week I announced the next steps for the transformation of the disability support system. This is a huge milestone in moving towards a system that gives disabled people more choice and control over their support. On 6 April I will be holding a second open forum to discuss these changes. This is an opportunity for you to ask any questions you might have about the transformation.

I also visited SkillWise in Christchurch to see how they’ve been incorporating the Enabling Good Lives principles in their support of disabled people.

Finally, I would like to congratulate Robert Martin for being one of the three finalists for Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero! This is a fantastic achievement. Robert will be attending his first session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Geneva this month.  At this session the Committee will consider reports from different counties on how they are implementing the rights enshrined in the Convention.

Transforming the Disability Support System

We all know the current disability support system doesn’t work well for everyone, so I’m pleased to say a system-wide overhaul is now underway.  What we’re working toward is a new system based on the Enabling Good Lives vision and principles, including individualised funding.  This approach is about ensuring disabled people and their families/whānau have greater choice and control over their lives, as well as the support they receive from government.

Mid-Central (Palmerston North, Horowhenua, Manawatu, Otaki and Tararua districts) is the first region set to be transformed. Over the next three months officials and representatives from the disability sector will work together to co-design a new system there.

Input from the sector, from design to implementation, is absolutely vital. More information about how to get involved can be found on the Office for Disability Issues website at:


Applications for the design group close on 16 March 2017 so get in quick if you are interested!

Disability Forum – Save the date

                               Minister Wagner speaking at the Disability Forum in December 2016

I really enjoyed having the opportunity to speak at the Disability Forum in December 2016, and hope all of you who attended found it interesting as well.

Since the first Disability Forum was a success, I’m planning on holding a second Forum at the Ministry of Social Development, 56 The Terrace, from 10am – 12pm on 6 April.

The forum will focus on the transformation of the disability support system and how it will incorporate the Enabling Good Lives principles.  This is an opportunity for you to ask any burning questions you have about the transformation. I want to have the right information to answer your queries, so please send any questions to http://odi@msd.govt.nz by 30 March 2017.

The Forum is open to anyone – if you would like to attend, please RSVP to http://events@msd.govt.nz for catering purposes and include Disability Forum in the subject field.

Visiting SkillWise in Christchurch

On 1 March I visited SkillWise, a disability support provider in Christchurch, to see their work in action. It is a very busy and energising place and I was impressed by how individualised the support was. Also, how well the staff members seemed to know each and every person. 


                                    Nicky with (from left to right) Paul Harvey and Paul Harkerss at SkillWise.

I enjoyed seeing the talents of those receiving support from SkillWise, in particular one young artist who had several pieces of his artwork in a local café.

All the best,


Minister for Disability Issues