Government marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities

The Government joins the disabled community of Aotearoa New Zealand in marking and celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Minister for Disabilty Issues Carmel Sepuloni said.

The theme for this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities is “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible, and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.”

“There are an estimated 1.1 million disabled people in Aotearoa New Zealand, that’s one in every four people, and we are committed to backing each and every one of them – from breaking down barriers to supporting their opportunities and aspirations,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“We know COVID-19 continues to have an impact on disabled people, but that hasn’t diminished our resolve to ensure disabled people and their whānau can thrive”.

“In fact, the pandemic has further highlighted the importance of the changes we’ve announced and why they are much needed not only for disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori and whānau, but for an inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand as a whole,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

To support our drive towards a non-disabling society, Government has announced a Ministry for Disabled People, stand-alone accessibility legislation that sets out a new framework that takes a progressive approach to identifying, preventing, and removing barriers to participation, an Accessibility Governance Board, the national rollout of the Enabling Good Lives approach, more funding to translate important communications into the range of alternate formats for disabled people, and a service and tools to support disabled peoples’ vaccination experiences.

“As Delta has evolved, so has our response. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve continued to engage, consult and meet with disabled people, groups and organisations, and ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ remains an integral part of our approach and response.

“Today also marks a new phase in our fight against the pandemic as we shift to the COVID Protection Framework. We’re in an even greater fight to protect the hauora of disabled people and their whānau as we secure the recovery. 

“We are building on the efforts and commitments of disabled pioneers and advocates for greater voice, choice and control. There is a lot happening and lots more to do if we are to realise the aspirations of disabled people in Aotearoa New Zealand, but Government is committed to working towards a non-disabling society,” Carmel Sepuloni said.