Whaikaha - Purchasing Rules and Equipment and Modification Services (EMS) Update

Updated 8 April

Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People is making changes to its Purchasing Rules and Equipment and Modification Services (EMS).

This is to manage increasing demand while Whaikaha works with disabled people and tāngata whaikaha Māori on medium and long-term plans on how to retain as much flexibility as possible.

This means Whaikaha is having to make some careful decisions. We understand that these changes may be difficult for recipients of funding and the disability community. 

Update 20 March: There is a new update and questions and answers are now available.

Changes to Purchasing Rules

From Monday 18 March, Whaikaha is making changes to its Purchasing Rules to clarify how people can use their disability support funding.  The Purchasing Rules describe what disability support funding can be used to buy, when using Individualised Funding, Enhanced Individualised Funding, Choice in Community Living, Personal Budgets or Carer Support.

Changes to the Purchasing Rules does not reduce the amount of funding that is allocated to disabled people (or carers), however they make clear what can be purchased, with the aim that every dollar spent generates the maximum possible value for disabled people. 

These changes will be in place while the Ministry works with disabled people and tāngata whaikaha Māori on how this funding may be used in future. 

You can view and download the Purchasing Rules or find them on our Purchasing Guidance webpage.

Equipment and Modification Services (EMS)

Whaikaha commissions disability support services for almost 50,000 people and funds equipment and home and vehicle modifications for approximately 100,000 people through Equipment and Modification Services (EMS). 

EMS assists disabled people and tāngata whaikaha Māori to live as independently and safely as possible.   Equipment such as wheelchairs, customised standing frames, customised seating systems, adjustable beds, communication devices, and housing and motor vehicle modifications for disabled people are included in EMS. 

Whaikaha is working with equipment and modification assessors and allied health teams to put in place prioritisation measures. This will ensure that people who have the highest priority for EMS receive it first.

Next steps

Whaikaha is committed to working with the disability community and will be seeking their feedback to ensure the disability support system retains flexibility, choice and control, is guided by equity, and ensures financial sustainability. 

Whaikaha is committed to improving the way disability supports are provided, to improve outcomes for disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori and whānau, and to advance societal change that will lead to a non-disabling Aotearoa New Zealand. 

More information is available on our website