Ministers announce new disability innovation fund

  • Paula Bennett
  • Tariana Turia
Disability Issues Social Development and Employment

The Minister for Social Development and Employment, Paula Bennett and the Minister for Disability Issues, Tariana Turia, today announced the new Disability Innovation Fund making $500,000 available for innovative ways of getting disabled people into work or retaining them in work.

“A priority for me is to get people into work. This fund supports disabled people into work and also supports employers to retain disabled workers,” said Minister Bennett.

“I am particularly pleased that all innovative proposals that are received from the sector will be shared with the welfare reform team to inform its work programme on supporting disabled people into employment”.

This fund recognises that the employment rate of disabled people is about half that of non disabled people. The fund is aimed at supporting innovative projects from the employers, NGOs or disabled people’s organisations to either get disabled people into employment or to retain them in employment.

The Innovation Fund is targeted to 3 key areas. 

  1. Innovative projects from employers to retain current employees in employment who either have an existing disability or who have acquired a disability including chronic health condition or mental health condition.
  2. Innovative projects from employers to get disabled people into employment.
  3. Innovative projects from the NGO sector or disabled people organisations to support disabled people into self employment.

The Government is looking for organisations to come up with projects that aren’t currently funded through the many existing employment programmes targeted at disabled people.

This fund should provides employers with greater choice on how they can employ disabled people and also supports disabled people who want to start their own business.

“Disabled people have the right to work and I am really pleased that we can support them and their whanau with different and innovative ways into employment. This fund is one of the first results from joint work by disabled person’s organisations, employers and government,” said Minister Turia.

Applications for the fund open on November 14 2011.

For more information on how to apply go to