Wellington: New Zealand will create a “ministry for people with disabilities” in July 2022 and introduce a bill to make the country more accessible, a minister here said on Friday.
In a statement, Minister for Disability Affairs Carmel Sepuloni said the new ministry would consolidate all supports and services available to people with disabilities and replace a fragmented system where there is not a single agency responsible for improving overall results, Xinhua News Agency.
The government is also stepping up efforts to make New Zealand more accessible by introducing a new accessibility framework, backed by legislation and a new Accessibility Governance Council. The Governance Council will be led by and represent people and communities with disabilities, Sepuloni said.
“The voices of the disability community will be incorporated into all levels of decision-making, from training and ministry operations to the development of accessibility legislation,” she said.
The Department of Social Development will welcome the new Department of Persons with Disabilities. and ensure that the new addition will have access to existing shared services and knowledge to help it get started, Sepuloni said.
“This is the start of a real partnership between the disability community and the government,” she added.
According to local media statistics, one in four New Zealanders has different abilities.
They are disproportionately represented in poverty statistics and experience high rates of discrimination.