Online hui: Questions and Answers
Find some of the questions and answers (Q&A) from our previous online hui sessions that relate to Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People.
On this page
- Enabling Good Lives questions
- Legislation questions
- Whaikaha's people questions
- Working in partnership questions
- Children and education questions
- Te Tiriti o Waitangi questions
- What is Whaikaha doing to lead awareness and consistent delivery of EGL? When is EGL going to be rolled out to new areas?
Raising awareness of the EGL principles and developing a plan to give more people access to this approach across Aotearoa is a key responsibility of Whaikaha. We have started this process by listening to the experiences of disabled people and their whānau, meeting with key services including Needs Assessment Service Coordinators (NASCs), and bringing together the three EGL sites. These learnings will help us to plan for the roll out of the EGL principles, and is helping us to understand how the community sees EGL and the current differences in the delivery of EGL. We are aware that we need to listen to regions and local communities to understand how Whaikaha can best roll out the EGL approach locally.
The government has set aside $100 million to extend the EGL approach to more disabled people and their whānau. This includes transforming our Services and Supports underpinned by EGL principles.
It’s important to remember that EGL is an approach to service delivery, using a set of principles. It is not intended to be a rigid or static model which focuses on funded support. It provides a framework for respectful relationships with disabled people. The intent of EGL is to provide disabled people and their whānau with more control over the supports and options they have for living the lives they choose.This includes providing Connectors / Kaitūhono to help people navigate assistance, achieve more seamless support, and funding which is easier to access.
What we have heard from the community is “nothing about us, without us”. For choice and control to be meaningful at a system level, our work with raising awareness of the EGL principles and rolling out this approach must happen in partnership with disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori, and whānau. We will therefore continue to work with the disability community to design the next phase of the transformation of disability support services. Working together will inform the decisions about how quickly the approach will be made available to more people nationally. Whaikaha will also need to have regional discussions to understand what will work best in local areas.
- Do you anticipate changes to legislation that will require investment by local governments and businesses around accessibility?
- Will the Ministry advocate to influence the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to update our outdated building legislation with respect to Accessibility? Currently we don't have Universal Design incorporated into our legislation at all
- How did the Accessibility Bill get so watered down by government's policy makers?
The Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill aims to address accessibility barriers. The disability community has provided significant feedback through the Select Committee process. This includes feedback about the scope and proposals of the Bill.
It is important that all government agencies look for opportunities to make improvements to accessibility across all areas of life, and we know that change won’t come from legislation and regulations alone.
Part of Whaikaha’s work includes supporting government agencies to incorporate disability perspectives and needs into their work to meet their own responsibilities to disabled people and whānau. This includes encouraging agencies to directly engage with disabled people and their representative organisations in for example, COVID-19 policy development, service design and implementation.
Whaikaha understands that disabled people expect accessibility to be an integral part of what every Ministry, including this Ministry does. That is our message, and we will take a lead role in discussion across agencies to support and advise on what that means for them.
Whaikaha is working across national and local government, and is actively engaging in this important mahi.
- Are you recruiting parents with lived experience? And where can they fit into Whaikaha?
- In what ways will Whaikaha offer young disabled people mentorship in roles in Whaikaha so they can grow into future roles?
We strongly encourage disabled people as well as parents and whānau of disabled people to apply for roles at Whaikaha. We recognise the invaluable lived experience this brings to our mahi/work. This is a must have for us.
We’re doing the work to make sure we can make employment opportunities available to disabled people, this includes considering what individuals need in order to perform at their best, including the development of flexible work arrangements and reasonable accommodations. "Reasonable accommodations" means working with our disabled employees to ensure they have a work arrangement suited to their specific needs. For example, this may include flexibility of where you work from, workplace assessments, onsite supports and adaptive equipment and programs.
The bottom line for Whaikaha is that we won’t settle for anything less.
Whaikaha is currently involved in some mentoring relationships, and we appreciate your thoughts on strengthening this.
Whaikaha is currently using MSD’s processes for recruitment. We are aware that there could be some access issues with the careers website and encourage you to reach out to us directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org if needed.
- How will Whaikaha support disabled people to engage with their Disability Provider Organisations (DPOs) so that their collective voices are heard? Likewise for families and their representative organisations?
- How does the Ministry intend to engage with Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) providers and work in partnership to support the disabled community?
- What is the best way to engage and assist at present? Not including seeking employment.
Whaikaha has been listening to the experiences of our diverse disability community. We want to continue to learn from disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori and whānau. This is a crucial part of the workplans we are developing and will include more ways to engage with us for example through our direct relationships with DPOs as well as developing accessible consultation tools, expanding digital and non digital opportunities, which will allow everyone to have their say.
We value partnership in full recognition that we cannot do our important work alone. Work across the sector led by EGL principles is vital to the success of transforming lives. Helping every group or organisation in the disability system understand what working with EGL principles means is therefore incredibly important. Whaikaha cannot do that alone, so we continue to partner and actively work towards building stronger relationships with the disability community and our service provider allies in these discussions.
It is also important to remember that EGL is an approach that can be applied broadly. The good news is that we don’t have to wait for the system transformation of our Supports and Services work to be complete to allow us to implement the EGL approach to services. We can to apply them right now to how Whaikaha engages with the disability community.
The ongoing relevance and success of Whaikaha will come from ongoing information sharing and discussions with the whole sector. Please use your voice, continue to stay connected and share your knowledge in a way you feel confident to do so, directly through our channels or through your representative groups.
Only through understanding and collective expertise can we do this important work the right way.
- Will children be prioritised in the new Ministry? There are currently long waitlists in all areas of child development for support including equipment safety assessments for housing modifications with urgent safety issues.
- Will there be initiatives and projects to help our young disabled people?
- Mokopuna Takiwātanga services for mokopuna under the age of 5 is almost invisible, unless there are specialist referrals, how will the Ministry assist whānau that find it difficult to navigate through the system? And want a Māori lens approach?
Children must be a priority. We want to build a future where disabled children can live great lives, are included in their communities and have equitable access to opportunities.
We know that early intervention makes a huge difference in the lives of disabled people. While our programme of work is still being formed, this principle remains fundamental to how we set priorities.
Whaikaha recognises and acknowledges the frustrations that long wait times and access to child development supports is causing for children and their families. We will continue to identify improvements and will develop strategies to address these. There is no simple, nor quick way to solve this but we are definitely aware of the issues, which are complex, and working to address them in our System Transformation work.
Systems access and navigation is known to be difficult, and we know that Māori and Pacific disabled people are less likely to have access to supports. Given our responsibilities under Tiriti this is central to all our strategic development.
Young people, particularly those transitioning from education to adult programs and employment, as well as independent living, are also areas we will be working on.
- How does the Ministry plan to meet its obligations to Te Tiriti o Waitangi? Taking into consideration the Waitangi Tribunal health claim is still in progress, which means a long wait for a complete report and recommendations?
- How will the Ministry ensure that cultural aspirations are upheld and implemented within policy from a Māori lens?
We see Whaikaha meeting Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations as an enormous opportunity and responsibility.
Whaikaha is keenly following Waitangi Tribunal progress and is listening to and learning from the experiences shared.
We acknowledge that the provision of Disability Support Services is only one facet of how the government is working to enable disabled people to live good lives.
To achieve broader change, transformation will be needed across the full scope of government and indeed wider society by:
- working in partnership with tāngata whaikaha Māori and Te Tiriti o Waitangi partners to uphold the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in Whaikaha
- promoting Te Ao Māori, Pacific, social, cultural and rights-based concepts and models of disability
- improving the quality and consistency of information government holds about tāngata whaikaha Māori and the effects of policy on tāngata whaikaha Māori.
When we talk about leading a true partnership between the disability community, Māori, and the Government this is about working to realise that opportunity. Because true partnership is what that obligation should mean for us.