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Mana: Disability reform essential – Sue Bradford

Press Release – Mana Party

Aotearoa must become a more inclusive and compassionate society for everyone, not just those who are temporarily of sound mind and body, says MANA Disability spokesperson Sue Bradford.Mana: Disability reform essential

Aotearoa must become a more inclusive and compassionate society for everyone, not just those who are temporarily of sound mind and body, says MANA Disability spokesperson Sue Bradford.

‘Over the last few weeks I’ve attended a number of election forums with people from various parts of the disability sector.

‘It is clear that neither National nor Labour-led Governments are paying enough attention to the cries of anguish and anger coming from people with impairments, their families, whanau and support organisations.

‘While there is no question that some useful progress has been made in the past decade, barriers to full participation in society remain impenetrable to many of the 1 in 5 New Zealanders with physical, mental and/or intellectual impairment, a disproportionate number of whom are Maori.

‘MANA is all about economic and social justice for those who have least in our society.

‘That’s why we take such a strong stand in support of those with impairments struggling to live and thrive in an essentially disabling society.

Our full disability policy is attached -and available online at , but key points include:

Government should act urgently to stop the closure of Special Needs Units. Government has responsibility to meet the educational needs of all children, not just some of them. Children and parents need a range of options, not just mainstreaming.

Enshrining the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in domestic legislation, and promoting anti discrimination laws.

Abolishing the minimum wage exemption permit scheme which sees some people employed on ‘wages’ as low as $3.00 (or less) an hour.

Resolve issues around parents and grandparents as caregivers immediately so that those caring fulltime for disabled whanau in their home are supported financially – and adequately.

Support for proactive employment creation and education and training support for people with impairments, with a high priority on meeting the needs of young people transitioning from school.

Opposition to National’s welfare reforms which oblige an increasing number of sickness and invalids’ beneficiaries to be constantly harassed and ‘work tested’, despite the harmful and negative impacts this has on many.


Disabled people have rights that must be protected and promoted, and have the same human rights as all other people to be treated with dignity; to live, to have full and equal access to healthcare, high quality education, fulfilling work, an adequate standard of living, appropriate housing, freedom from discrimination, the transmission of language and culture, and full and effective participation in society. The state is legally obligated to take active steps to fulfil these rights and to make sure others do not interfere with them.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) recognizes that disability is created when people with impairments encounter barriers in society that hinder them from living the lives they choose. Mana acknowledges this definition, as chosen by disabled people in the writing of the Convention, whilst respecting alternative world views.

In Aotearoa, one in five people are disabled. Māori have a higher rate of disability than non-Māori and face extra barriers, including racial discrimination and lack of access to culture. Disabled people in are often disadvantaged in employment, education, income and standard of living, access to public transport, and access to health services. Barriers include: inaccessible building design and information; services delivered in places or ways that don’t meet people’s needs; and negative societal attitudes and behaviours. These barriers also affect the whānau of disabled people, and those who love and care for them.

Mana policies related to welfare, housing, education, and economic justice all aim to increase the living standards and support the right to participation of disabled people.

In addition, Mana policy priorities are to:

Ensure equal rights and access to justice for disabled people by:

Enshrining The UNCRPD in domestic legislation

Ratifying the UNCRPD Optional Protocol to enable disabled people whose rights have been breached to take cases directly to the UN.

Promoting the development of anti-discrimination legislation

Promote the full participation of disabled people in creating an inclusive Aotearoa by

Increasing the visibility, voice and participation of disabled people in central, regional and local government across all sectors, including governance, planning, policy, research, and service provision – and increase the resources available to enable this to happen.

Build the research capacity of disabled people, across all areas including health, design, education, economics, and engineering, to increase control and influence over policy and planning, and to monitor progress.

To enforce accessibility standards in the provision of:


Housing and the built environment



Improving the standard of living for disabled people and their whanau by:

Introducing a non-means tested benefit to meet the costs of disability of all disabled people

Removing the inequity in access to services and healthcare between ACC and Ministry of Health clients, bringing all recipients to the higher level of access to resources

Abolishing the minimum wage exemption permit and ensuring meaningful jobs are available to all disabled people

Ensuring that all disabled people have the right to be educated alongside their peers in a properly resourced learning environment

Increasing the options for disabled people to use affordable and accessible community facilities to maintain fitness and wellbeing

Improving access to culture and language by:

Promoting the development of accessible marae and cultural facilities

Increasing the use of New Zealand Sign Language in public life including support for ongoing development of Maori signs

People who require disability-related support should be able to receive it in the place they want from the people they want, in the way they want and in a culturally appropriate manner as determined by the disabled person and their loved ones. This will be achieved by:

Ensuring health, disability and social service staff are properly trained and provided with ongoing professional development especially in cultural competence and that this is audited

Providing fair payment for support workers, including immediate resolution of the ‘Parents as Caregivers’ case and ensuring that night shift workers receive the minimum wage with immediate effect

Include disabled people and their whānau in developing ways to monitor the quality and performance of health and social services

Increase the availability of services and facilities for long term and short term care and residential living that are age- and culturally appropriate for diverse groups of Māori, Pacific, and other peoples.

Increase community-based rehabilitation services

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