We are working with Business New Zealand and the private sector to give businesses practical tools and information to help them be Disability Confident.
Promotional material for the Disability Confident campaign showcases the benefits of employing disabled people.
On Friday 25 November the new Disability Confident campaign was launched by the Prime Minister. The launch was hosted by PwC and Business New Zealand, and we had three fabulous employers speak – Scott Pickering from ACC, Selwyn Cook from Z Energy and Duane Kale from ANZ.
Minister Wagner with speakers Scott Pickering, the chief executive of ACC, the Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key, Duane Kale, the Head of ANZ Direct, Selwyn Cook, Z Energy Disability Ambassador, and Michelle Embling, Chair of PwC New Zealand.
At the launch Business New Zealand and the Disability Employment Forum also discussed the research for their Building Disability Confident Employers initiative, which has some great tips for what employers can do to be Disability Confident. It is currently being finalised and will be provided to employers soon.
Being Disability Confident is easier than most employers think. Research has shown that once a disabled person is in the right job, they perform just as well as any other employee, so it’s all about matching the right person with the right skills to the right job. Most disabled people don’t need anything extra to be able to work. For those that do, there is a lot of support out there, including modification grants and funding for special equipment or NZSL interpreters.
Employing more disabled people is a win-win-win for everyone – employers get talented staff, disabled employees get more financial independence and increased wellbeing, and New Zealand sees an increase in GDP.
Launch of the New Zealand Disability Strategy 2016-2026
On 29 November 2016, right before the Attitude Awards, the new New Zealand Disability Strategy was launched. It was a fantastic event, with Paralympic gold medallist Liam Malone, Clive Lansink from Blind Citizens New Zealand and Victoria Manning from the Disability Strategy Revision Reference Group speaking. Both Clive and Victoria touched on how important it is that disabled people are part of decision making processes. Disabled people are after all experts in their own lives.
Liam’s story about employers lining up to offer him jobs once he received his gold medals in Rio this year was particularly enjoyable.
Minister Wagner speaking at the launch of the New Zealand Disability Strategy 2016-2026.
It really highlighted the importance of changing employer’s perceptions from seeing someone with a disability, to an employee who happens to have a disability.
The New Zealand Disability Strategy was developed after extensive consultation with disabled people, their families/whānau and disability organisations. It outlines a vision of New Zealand as a non-disabling society – a place where disabled people have an equal opportunity to achieve their goals and aspirations, and everyone works together to make this happen. The outcome areas set out in the Strategy will guide the work of government agencies over the next 10 years.
If the Strategy is to foster real change and improvement, it needs to be properly implemented. The main mechanism for this will be the Disability Action Plan. To ensure that we can track progress, we will be developing an Outcomes Framework that specifies targets and indicators for each outcome area in the Strategy.
The Strategy is available in a range of accessible formats – large print, EasyRead, Braille, New Zealand Sign Language and audio.
Seclusion to be made illegal
Education Minister, Hon Hekia Parata has announced that she intends to make the use of seclusion in all schools and early childhood education services illegal.
Seclusion involves a student being involuntarily placed alone in a room from which they cannot freely exit or believe they cannot freely exit.
Minister Parata invited the Science and Education Committee to introduce a Supplementary Order Paper to the Education (Update) Amendment Bill. This Supplementary Order Paper would prohibit seclusion in schools and early childhood education (ECE) services.
On 3 November 2016 the Secretary of Education sent a letter to all schools which it makes it clear that they should not be using seclusion. The Ministry of Education have also released updated guidance for schools on the minimisation of physical restraint and alternatives to seclusion.
Open forum on Disability Issues
I am holding an open forum on 15 December 2016, from 9.30am –11.00am at the Ministry for Social Development, Aurora Centre, 56 The Terrace, Wellington.
The forum is open to all disability organisations, services, disabled people and their families/whānau who want to attend. I will be talking about my key milestones and priorities, including what’s happening next for the New Zealand Disability Strategy and Enabling Good Lives. It will also be an opportunity for you to ask me any questions you have relating to disability issues. To ensure that I have the right information, please send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to attend, please RSVP to email@example.com for catering purposes. Please make sure you put RSVP Disability Forum in the subject field. I hope to see you there.
All the best,
Hon Nicky Wagner
Minister for Disability Issues
Phone: +64 4 817 8227 | Fax: +64 4 473 0469
Freepost: Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160, New Zealand
If you want to respond to the issues discussed in this email, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.