Putting the Disability Strategy into action

The Disability Action Plan 2019–2023 (Action Plan) is the Government’s vehicle for implementing the New Zealand Disability Strategy 2016–2026 (Disability Strategy).

On 1 August 2023 the Office for Disability Issues was integrated into Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People as the Partnerships and Stewardship team.


The Disability Action Plan 2019–2023 (Action Plan) is the Government’s vehicle for implementing the New Zealand Disability Strategy 2016–2026 (Disability Strategy).

The Disability Strategy is how the government will take steps towards meeting their commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCPRD).

The Action Plan is a package of comprehensive government work programmes that will progress the eight outcomes in the Disability Strategy:

  • education, employment and economic security, health and wellbeing, rights protection and justice, accessibility, attitudes, choice and control, and leadership.

This Action Plan is the fourth Disability Action Plan since 2011. It was agreed to by Cabinet in September 2019.

Selecting the work programmes

The work programmes in the Action Plan are consistent with the twin-track approach of the Disability Strategy, focusing on disability specific and mainstream approaches. The work programmes are either directly related to improving government funding and services for disabled people or bring a significant disability focus to broader policy or work programmes.

Consistent with Article 4.3 of the UNCRPD, disabled peoples’ voices have shaped the Action Plan through a public consultation process. The feedback from consultation then informed many important conversations between the DPO Coalition and government agencies.

The chosen work programmes are derived from:

  • incomplete actions from the previous Disability Action Plan 2014–2018
  • important issues identified by the Independent Monitoring Mechanism (IMM) at the outset of New Zealand’s second periodic review of its implementation of the UNCRPD
  • work programmes that government agencies identified as progressing the Disability Strategy, and
  • a response to issues and ideas highlighted during public consultation or during regional meetings between stakeholders and the Minister for Disability Issues.

As a result, 29 work programmes have been included in the Action Plan, which will be delivered by 12 government agencies and their partners.

Many of the programmes are substantial and long term and are expected to continue beyond the life of this current Action Plan.

The work programmes, as they are developed and implemented, will be responsive to the needs and potential of all disabled people, including: Māori; Pacific peoples; women and girls; disabled people with complex needs; and whānau.

One of the work programmes is about collecting better data about disabled people.

This builds on the commitments of government agencies in the previous Action Plan to making public information accessible and improving employment opportunities for disabled people in the public service.

Most work programmes in the Action Plan will be resourced from agencies’ existing funding. A few may be dependent on new or additional funding.

Involving disabled people

When planning for and implementing their work programmes, each government agency is expected to engage effectively with disabled people. Such engagement is consistent with Article 4.3 (“closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities”) of the UNCRPD to which New Zealand is a signatory.

Ensuring data is disaggregated by disability

Statistics New Zealand and the Office for Disability Issues are joint leads for the Disability Data and Evidence Working Group’s work programme.

All agencies are expected to promote the use of the Washington Group sets of questions on disability in government surveys.

Monitoring and reporting progress

It is important to report on and monitor the Action Plan’s progress. The Action Plan includes several mechanisms to monitor implementation, including:

  • six-monthly status reports to the Office for Disability Issues
  • bi-annual meetings of the Ministerial Leadership Group on Disability Issues
  • bi-annual meetings of the DPO Coalition with the Minister for Disability Issues
  • DPO Coalition meetings with agencies on request
  • Minister for Disability Issues’ annual report to Parliament
  • meetings with Chief Executives, officials and Ministers, as required.


The Ministerial Leadership Group on Disability Issues is the primary governance lever, together with ongoing engagement with agency chief executives and senior officials.


The DPO Coalition will continue to play a key role, providing feedback on progress and advice on implementing the work programmes to improve the wellbeing of disabled people.