Community Update - October 2023

Welcome to our latest community update for October 2023.

There are several ways to access this update.

You can watch the video summary of our community update with captions. A transcript is also available.

You can also read our written community update with more information or access alternate formats below,

Alternate formats

Video update

This video has captions and a transcript in the description. You can also download the word document version of the video transcript. (DOCX 30KB)

Whaikaha written update

Alternate formats will be added as soon as they are available.

In this update

Office for Disability Issues now part of Whaikaha  

The Office for Disability Issues (ODI) was integrated into Whaikaha on 1 August 2023. The people from the ODI team are continuing their important mahi as part of the Policy, Strategy and Partnerships Group within Whaikaha, including partnering on the New Zealand Disability Strategy and Action Plan, interagency advice based on the UNCRPD, and advice for the Minister for Disability Issues.

The New Zealand Sign Language Board and the team supporting them remains the same.

If you need to get hold of the team, please email 

UNCRPD update  

Whaikaha has been leading the coordination of the Government response to the recommendations from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

The Committee examined New Zealand in September 2022 and provided 60 United Nations recommendations for New Zealand. external URL   Since then, Whaikaha has been working with relevant government agencies to respond to the recommendations, and the Government has now agreed to implement 51 out of the 60 recommendations.

The next step is for the Minister for Disability Issues to report back to Cabinet on agencies’ implementation progress, and to seek Cabinet agreement to a monitoring process. This will also include the ways recommendations which have not been agreed to can be monitored. 

The Government has also agreed to hold a public forum with the disability community by December 2027. This will provide an opportunity, halfway through implementation, to ensure that progress is being made and that agencies have an opportunity to improve implementation should they need to.   

For more information view the Cabinet paper with alternate formats external URL .

My Home, My Choice

Nōku te kainga noho, nōku te whakatau, My Home My Choice launched this year as part of the Whaikaha System Transformation programme. It focuses on the work needed to transform the way people in residential services are assisted so they have more choice and control in their lives.

This includes developing options and alternatives for people who are considering entry into or exit out of residential services, and supporting disabled people and tāngata whaikaha Māori to have opportunities for learning, working, having somewhere to call home and fully participating in their community.

The programme has now appointed its steering group and they have held their first meeting. The group is made up of seven representatives from the community and Sir Robert Martin KNZM and Gary Williams MNZM will provide leadership as the patrons. 

The programme is still in its very early stages but there will be opportunities for the wider community to provide feedback throughout the programme soon. For more information with alternative formats visit our My Home, My Choice webpage

Funding secured to extend the Enabling Good Lives approach

In September 2023, the Government announced that Whaikaha had secured $73.7 million over the next four years and $40.5 million in the following years to continue to transform the disability system in line with the Enabling Good Lives approach.

A Transformation Management Office is being established in Whaikaha to oversee the development and implementation of the system transformation initiatives. It will report to a tripartite Transformation Management Board which will provide governance on the transformation initiatives with disabled people and tāngata whaikaha Māori working alongside leadership from within the executive of Whaikaha.  

You can find more information on our System Transformation webpage.

Transformation Management Board – call for interest opens soon 

To ensure disabled people and tāngata whaikaha Māori are at the decision-making table, we are inviting expressions of interest to join our Transformation Management Board very soon.

The Transformation Management Board is one of the partnership arrangements being established to transform the disability support system, so it improves the lives of disabled people and tāngata whaikaha Māori throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

Once appointed, Management Board members will primarily provide advice to support the implementation of transformation initiatives funded through the Budget 2022 contingency. Members will be paid, and travel may be needed.

If you are disabled or tāngata whaikaha Māori with experience in governance, leadership, financial management or transformation we want to hear from you. There will be more information including what is involved and how to apply on our website and social media channels very soon.  

Work with us 

Over the coming months, we will be looking for the right people to join our team and help shape the future of disability services in New Zealand. 

There are opportunities across all teams in Whaikaha working to deliver better outcomes for disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori, families and whānau in line with the Enabling Good Lives approach.

All our kaimahi must be able to establish credibility and trust and have empathy for the unique and diverse experiences of disabled people. We welcome applications from disabled people, or those who have a lived experience of disability through whānau or community involvement.

All vacancies will be listed on our Work with us webpage and we encourage disabled people and their whānau to apply.

If you want to learn more about working at Whaikaha, check out our video about what it's like working at Whaikaha external URL with our Chief Executive, Paula Tesoriero, and Ben O'Meara, Deputy Chief Executive Policy, Strategy and Partnerships.

Important information

General Election voting and accessibility  

Voting for the 2023 General Election started on Monday 2 October and finishes at 7pm on election day, Saturday 14 October. The Electoral Commission has information on how to vote in alternate formats and how you can get help to vote, including; 

  • with assistance from a support person 
  • using a telephone dictation service (requires registration) 
  • when you cannot get to a voting place 

Find out about getting help to vote external URL . You can also access alternate formats of the how to vote guide external URL .

Live captions and NZSL interpreters

Live captioning for the Debates broadcast on TVNZ 1 and election night will be provided by Able. Whaikaha is proud to support the partnership between TVNZ and Deaf Aotearoa to have live New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) interpreted versions of the TVNZ 1 Debates too.

This includes the final Debate on 12 October at 7pm which will be broadcast live on Kordia channel 200 external URL — this programme will offer a reverse Picture in Picture (PIP) format. The signed Debates will also be available to view on TVNZ+ external URL after the broadcast including the 19 September Leaders’ Debate and 5 October Multi-Party Debate.

Access expanded for COVID-19 antiviral 

From 1 October 2023, Te Pātaka Whaioranga – Pharmac has expanded access to COVID-19 antiviral treatments for people who are vulnerable to severe illness following COVID-19 infection, including disabled people and people with one or more severe health conditions that have resulted in severe frailty or vulnerability.

The changes reflect feedback received from patients and carers, health practitioners, and Whaikaha in response to a Pharmac consultation ending 21 August 2023. More information is available on the Pharmac website. external URL  

Want to get in touch?

If there is something specific you would like to hear about in future updates, other general feedback or you want to get in touch, please visit our Contact us webpage

 Ngā manaakitanga ki a koutou katoa | Best wishes to you all,

Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People