Wellington: New Zealand will establish a Ministry for Disabled People next July and introduce a bill to make the country more accessible, Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni said on Friday.
The new ministry will join up all of the supports and services available to disabled people and replace a fragmented system where there is no single agency responsible for driving improved overall outcomes for disabled people, Sepuloni said in a statement.
The government is also accelerating efforts to make New Zealand more accessible by introducing a new accessibility framework, backed by legislation and a new Accessibility Governance Board. The Governance Board will be led by and represent disabled people and communities, Sepuloni said.
The Ministry of Social Development will host the new Ministry for Disabled People. This will ensure the new ministry will have access to existing shared services and knowledge to help it hit the ground running, Sepuloni said.
According to local media statistics, one in four New Zealanders had a disability. Disabled people are disproportionately represented in poverty statistics, and experience high rates of discrimination.